Quick courgette pasta

Vanessa was feeling uninspired about courgettes last weekend, so I’ve decided to try and help. Remains to be seen whether I can.

So, courgettes. I think courgettes are a great part of the summer and a lovely calming presence in a dish. Although when I think about it further, there’s really only two ways I use courgettes in my day-to-day cooking. This article is the sum total of my knowledge of courgettes, at least until I do some more experimenting.

Approach 1 is to char-grill them in a pan. For this an aluminium pan works just as well as a really heavy metal one; the important thing is the ridges to get the lovely black stripes on your courgettes.

  1. If you have a mandolin or enjoy showing off your knife skillz, the very best way to cut the courgettes is into thin ribbons the whole length of the fruit, no thicker than a coin. If this is too much hassle, just cut them into slices about 5mm thick but at an angle so your slices are long ovals. Either way, the skin should be left on.
  2. Next lay all your slices out and sprinkle them with salt. Over 20 minutes this will draw a lot of the moisture out and you can toss them in a colander to drain it off. I usually do some patting with kitchen roll too, and I’m often in a hurry and only give them 10 minutes.
  3. Now get the pan hot, rub oil over all the courgette slices, wash your hands and then put them in the pan to char. The courgettes, not your hands! They’ll need turning half way, and they don’t take long if the pan is hot enough – you’re aiming for some nice dark brown stripes on each side.
  4. Once all your courgettes are done and in a bowl you can pour on a bit of fresh olive oil, squirt on some lemon juice, grind on some black pepper and throw in chopped fresh mint or parsley or basil or thyme. They shouldn’t need salt as they get enough from the de-watering process.

And these courgettes are magic served with almost anything from lamb chops to skate wing. With their oily coating they’ll keep a day or two in the fridge as well.

My second courgette thing is a really simple pasta. Really simple. This is supper for two.

Grate a couple of medium courgettes with your cheese grater, skin still on. Grab them all up in your hands and squeeeeeeeze over the sink, squeezing out as much water as you can. In a pan warm up some olive oil and add finely chopped garlic and chilli (optional). As soon as it is sizzling, throw in the courgettes and fry them gently. Two or three minutes should be fine. Season with salt and pepper, add some fresh olive oil and a handful of grated parmesan. Stir this mixture into whatever pasta you have chosen to cook and there you have it. Two entirely optional refinements to this are: 1) add a couple of chopped-up rashers of crispy bacon, 2) add a handful of torn-up basil leaves.

Enjoy courgettes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>