Anyone on a ketogenic diet will soon learn to appreciate courgettes as a delicious, reliable staple. They’re incredibly adaptable and can be used in an infinite number of dishes: zoodles, roulade, rosti, or equally a simple weeknight recipe such as this; courgette & mozzarella bake.
Courgettes pick up the favour of anything they’re cooked with, so garlic and bacon form the perfect backdrop for this rich and velvety smooth dish. The zucchini turn buttery soft in the oven, and baked mozzarella complements this wonderfully. Melted cheese is mouthwatering at the best of times – here it blends into the cream to form a decadent, indulgent sauce which is truly delicious!
Because the gratin is so smooth in texture, I’ve teamed it with roasted pork belly. This goes wonderfully crisp in the oven, and serves to contrast and counterpoint the softened courgettes and cream. The combination is incredibly moreish – we had no leftovers whatsoever, all plates were scraped clean! This is music to any cook’s ears; as such, this dish comes highly recommended.
The carb-count is very low, so diabetics and ketogenic-dieters need have no concerns over impact to blood-sugars. There’s no gluten, so those with an intolerance needn’t worry also. Above all however, it is quick and easy to prepare, so can be done any night of the week. In this cold wintry weather, we all crave comfort-food, and it couldn’t get more comforting than this! Give it a go and make sure to tell me how you got on…
Start by sautéing diced bacon in a thick-bottomed gratin-dish or casserole. I used butter and a drizzle of oil to prevent the butter from burning. Add a finely sliced onion and cook until this starts to turn translucent. At this point add chopped garlic and 2 large sliced courgettes (one per person). Continue to cook these on the hob for 5 minutes or so, until the courgettes start to brown and soften.
Meanwhile heavily season your pork belly strips and place onto a baking tray. Oven bake these at the top of the oven until they go crisp and succulent. This should take circa 30-40 minutes in a hot oven.
Once the pork has gone in to roast, crumble a couple of chicken stock-cubes into your sautéing courgette mix for background flavour. Then stir in double cream until the whole lot is just submerged. Dice mozzarella and mix this in so that it’s evenly distributed throughout. Season well and top the lot with a large handful of grated hard cheese such as cheddar or parmesan. This gives the dish that delicious brown ‘crispness’ on top. A quick sprinkle of dried herbs, then into the oven it goes for circa half an hour until the top is golden and bubbling.
Once all is ready, serve up the lot whilst still piping hot. You can also serve salad or green vegetables alongside if you like, but one thing is definite: big hearty bowlfuls are a must! There’s no better way to enjoy comfort food like this, so huddle up warm and dig in!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!