Like anyone who has ever grown courgettes/zucchini I occasionally find myself with a huge glut that I need to use up. I’ve tried making Courgette Muffins, they’re great, Greek style Zucchini Pasta and Courgette and lemon pasta, also a treat, and Courgette and Tomato Soup, which has the double whammy effect of using up some garden tomatoes too. This dish is a little less fresh and zippy, more warming and comforting, which is a perfect choice whilst the weather isn’t super hot and all the rainy days are working heard to water my garden for me.
Whilst I do use Sherry, because it’s lovely, and because there’s usually a bottle in the fridge, it works just as well with white wine. A buttery, oaked Chardonnay will give you a deeper flavour than a bright and zingy Sauvignon Blanc, but there’s no need to choose something specific. A Keith Floyd type glug of anything will do. For the more abstemious cook, you can skip the booze (even though the alcohol cooks off) and add just a pinch of sugar and a splash of the pasta water.
I’ll give you the recipe for two greedy people, but feel free to scale up or down depending on hunger level or number of guests, this isn’t a recipe that requires precision. You can add your own flourishes, substitutions and amendments. The ones I’ve tried and enjoyed include topping off with some Greek Feta, or some freshly ground Parmesan to give the meal a bit more substance, and adding it some toasted pine nuts right at the end to add some nutty crunchiness.
I tend to use good Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil with this, it adds a deep green flavour, but Italian or Iberian oils work well. Don’t be tempted to skimp on the quantity or quality of the oil, feel free to over-serve yourself with it, it is part of the dish rather than just a cooking medium.
I used caserecci pasta for this dish, in no small part because Costco was bashing out the good bronze cut Italian stuff at a great price, but penne, fusili or any short pasta would work just as well.
Ingredients for two
- 2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of good olive oil
- 1 small glass of dry sherry or white wine (plus one for the cook)
- A handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Pasta for two – I used 200g of Caserecci
- Set a big pasta pan of water to boil
- Roughly chop the courgettes
- Put a large frying pan with a lid on a medium heat, take the lid off and add the oil
- Peel and crush the garlic and add it to the oil to soften gently for a couple of minutes
- By now your pasta water should be boiling so add your pasta and set the timer for the time indicated on the packet, probably about 12 minutes
- Add the Courgettes to the garlic and stir around
- Put the lid over the courgettes and let them cook for ten minutes, stirring now and then whilst you relax and drink your glass of sherry, ripping up some basil leaves
- Pour the other glass of sherry into the courgettes and stir around before recovering for two minutes
- Throw the ripped basil leaves into the courgettes and stir them around and leave uncovered as you drain the pasta and throw it back in the pan with the courgette mix and stir it all aound
- Serve in pasta bowls
- Top it with feta, Parmesan or pine nuts if you like or serve it naked.