Courgetti Fastonara

120-145 calories

A great low-cal alternative to pasta, with a rich sauce, than can also supply 2 of your 5 a day! Ready in under 10 minutes, too.

Serves 1

1 medium courgette (around 34 cals)

50g quartered white or chestnut mushrooms (7 cals)

2 tablespoons/30g plain or flavoured Philadelphia Light or other soft cheese (40-45 depending on flavour)

1/2 teaspoon truffle or olive oil (22 calories - or use 1-calorie spray)

Optional: 10g finely grated parmesan/Italian hard cheese (40-45 cals)

Fresh black pepper, plus fresh basil if you have some


  1. Add the olive or truffle oil to a non-stick saucepan and let it get pretty hot – then sauté the mushrooms till they’re browned. Don’t move them around too much, so they get nice caramelised edges.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, cut the courgette into very fine spaghetti like strands, or fettuccine-like noodles -you can use a sharp knife, a box grater or see my tip below about the Julienne Cutter I use which makes it very easy. Pat the 'noodles' dry with kitchen roll.
  3. When the mushrooms are browned, tip them into a warmed serving plate. Add the courgettes to the same pan, stir fry them in the little oil/moisture left from the mushrooms for 1 minute or so, depending on the thickness of the noodles (they take very little time to cook and you don't want them to go soggy).
  4. Add the cream cheese and cooked mushrooms to the pan, on a low heat, for 30 seconds or until the cream cheese begins to melt and cover the courgette. Tip onto a plate, and add lots of pepper and herbs, if using.

Top tip: to make the noodles, I use this brilliant gadget – a julienne cutter is small and useful for all kinds of veg and makes this a breeze, though watch out you don't julienne your fingers!

Serving suggestions: The noodles can be used with any sauce you like, courgette is so virtuous that you have a few more cals to play with for sauce on a Fast Day. For a 'true' carbonara, add some sliced ham to the pan at the same time as the courgettes (a wafer-thin slice can contain 5-20 calories so check the packet).