Courgettes, courgettes

Courgettes (or zucchini) are wonderfully versatile vegetables. Cheap and quick to prepare, they can be served as a side dish or beefed up to make a main meal in themselves, and they go well with an array of herbs and spices from all sorts of cuisines. The recipes and pictures below are a mere selection, recording how we’ve developed our courgette repertoire for family meals over the years. Oddbox deliveries and the annual glut from the garden in Sussex keep us experimenting.

A side dish: braised courgettes with garlic & oregano

Courgettes with garlic & oregano accompanying herb-crusted rack of lamb and rosemary roast potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium courgettes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt

Method

Wash the courgettes and trim the ends. Cut them into batons 3cm x 1cm x 1cm. In a saucepan for which you have a lid, melt the butter and olive oil together, add the garlic and oregano, stir and cook briefly. Add the courgettes and a pinch of salt, stir, cover and cook over a low heat for about ten minutes until the courgettes are just cooked but not mushy. Check seasoning and serve.


A quick supper: courgette pasta

This Collier invention evolved from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for courgettes trifolati in Cuisine Bon Marché (1994). It can withstand various adaptations according to what you have in the fridge: a spoonful of Philadelphia here, a wedge of leftover gruyère there as an alternative – or in addition – to cream and parmesan respectively. We all know that Louis would not have survived university without courgette pasta.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium courgettes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
50 ml cream
2 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp grated parmesan
350 g spaghetti
Salt & pepper

Method

Wash, trim and coarsely grate the courgettes. Don’t be alarmed by the size of the heap: courgettes contain a lot of water, which will cook off, reducing the vegetable to a pulp. Bring a large pan of salter water to the boil for the pasta.

Warm the butter and olive oil in a wide a saucepan for which you have a lid, add the grated courgettes and stir in the crushed garlic with ½ a teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook uncovered until most of the water has evaporated. Put the spaghetti on to cook.

Add the cream, crème fraîche and some ground black pepper to the courgettes and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the grated parmesan (or other cheese) and check the seasoning. Drain the spaghetti, then stir all the sauce into it. Serve with a tomato salad.


Riffing on courgettes

I love Ottolenghi’s recipes in Simple (2018) and Flavour (2020), which do wonderful things with courgettes: two examples are illustrated below. And don’t forget that courgette flowers can be eaten too, stuffed and battered. The first time I made those was in Italy in 2018 (Zita and I were on holiday with Toby and Kira), when our ingredients were a bit limited. The picture below records a more recent attempt with a River Cottage recipe: even in our well-stocked local vicinity I had to resort to a substitute (Boursin) for the required ricotta.

Published by motherrach

Alongside this blog, which records tried and tested family favourites, I’m documenting on Instagram (mother_rach_cooks) my efforts in repertoire expansion.

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