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Posts Tagged ‘pasta recipe’

Our friend Helen is a natural cook.

She rarely uses recipe books; rather she builds a dish from the ingredients to hand–throwing in this and that from time to time with an instinctive sense of when it’s right.

I love watching her cook.

She prepared this pasta on our visit last year–a reviving lunch after a morning working in the olive grove.

It was creamily delicious–hard not to take another spoonful! It seems to get better and better just sitting on the table. How did she managed to make it turn out that way?

I asked her to cook it again for us this November–while I took notes.

She uses a variety of courgette/zucchini that is paler than those I find here and has raised ridges–ideal for catching the garlicky olive oil sauce.

No matter–I shall try this at home with the common dark green variety.

Here’s what she did:

for 4

a pound and a half/750gms zucchini/courgettes–sliced evenly

3 tblsps olive oil (their own!)

2 garlic cloves–peeled, crunched under a knife and roughly chopped

a pinch of chili powder–(Helen adds more when her son Lucio is expected for lunch. Sometimes she doesn’t add any when it’s just her and Keith.)

hot water

salt

A handful of chopped parsley

400gms/16oz–wholewheat spiral pasta (or other shapes)

parmesan cheese to grate for those that like it

  • Helen sets plenty of water to boil for the pasta.
  • Then she heats the oil in a large sauté pan and adds the garlic, letting it take on some color.
  • Next she adds the courgettes and a tablespoon of hot water; she shakes the pan to coat the courgettes in the oil and sprinkles over some salt.

  • She leaves the mixture to cook gently on a lowish flame, jiggling it from time to time, for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • A little more salt and the parsley is added towards the end.

  • She cooks the pasta just before al dente, then drains it–saving some of the hot water.
  • She adds that water to the courgettes in the pan.

(Those additional tablespoons of hot pasta water prevent the dish from tasting too dry. )

  • She covers the pan until the moment of serving so the pasta stays moist and warm.
  • We enjoyed it with some grated parmesan–Helen leaves it as it is.

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