Sunday, July 22, 2007

Courgette and Herb Pasta

Despite the frequent deluges, it is still quite warm here in London, and the shops and markets are full of gorgeous fresh vegetables and fruits (cherries for less than £1 per pound on the market today - bargain!). However, all this rain does still manage to make one feel a tad wintry. This leads to a bit of a culinary conundrum: light, fresh, seasonal veg based meal, or substantial, weather-induced-blues-defeating comfort food? The answer, obviously, is to have both, in the form of pasta (definite comfort food possibilities) married with some simple fresh vegetables. This courgette and herb pasta fits the bill nicely, at once comforting, elegant and seasonal, with a heavy dose of fresh herbs that are sure to brighten your mood even if the Circle line is flooded and more rain is forecast.

To serve one:
  • 120g small pasta (e.g. fusilli, conchiglie)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (ideally 1 of ordinary, 1 of extra virgin)
  • 1 decent sized courgette, approx. 180g
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • black pepper and grated parmesan to serve

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the pasta. Cut the courgette in half lengthways and then into 0.5cm semi-circles. Chop the spring onions into 0.5 - 1cm thick rounds. Finely chop or mince the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add the vegetables and garlic. Fry, turning frequently, until the courgette is colouring a little on each side. Once the pasta is done, drain, reserving a tablespoon or so of the liquid (to do this easily, dump into a sieve or colander over the sink but put back over the saucepan before it has completely finished draining). Quickly add the chopped herbs and remaining oil to the courgette mixture and stir until well combined and hot, say 1 minute (you don't want the herbs to burn). Combine the cooked pasta and vegetables, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to get it all slick, but no more. Turn into a bowl, grind over some black pepper and freshly grated parmesan, then eat.

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