Monday, 18 April 2011

Auntie Hannah's Courgette Thing

DON'T say anything, okay? We only had an iPhone to snap it with

It all started back in January when my husband was invited to the last dinner at El Bulli before it closes down forever.

"Do you want to go?" He said. "It's 52 courses."
"Thanks, I won't," I said, thinking about all the babyweight I was going to have to be losing once April rolled around. I told him to take X, my brother-in-law instead - a roaringly good eater of food, swiller of wine and maker of jokes. Just the fellow.

Some phone calls were made and plans were hatched. Then my phone rang.

"What the FUCK do you think you're doing?!" screamed my sister down the phone. "Why did you tell Giles to take X to Spain? Do you think it's FUN being alone with three children under 4? You fucking, fucking, fucking bitch. You'd better get your fat fucking useless arse down here and help me, as it's YOUR fault I'm on my own."

Okay, so she didn't say that. But I could tell it was what she wanted to say to me when she suggested that, as my husband and her husband were out of town, I might like to spend Sunday night with her in her house in Oxford. She can say a thousand words just with her tone of voice, my sister - all of them quite threatening. But unless you've lived with her for 18 years, to talk to her she's charming.

So I drove down on Sunday morning at 4,000 miles an hour in our brand new diesel family estate with Kitty illegally strapped into the front passenger seat (airbag) and arrived at about 9am.

I found the 4 year-old dressed as a spaceman standing in a patch of dead daffoils, the 2 year-old in the hallway chewing a battery and the 9 month-old sitting quietly in the kitchen, humming to himself.

"Don't want to," said the 2 year-old.
"Don't want to what?" I said.
"Don't... wannnn... tooo," he said and sidled away with his battery.

Anyway, the weekend continued like that for a while and then on Sunday night after we'd both stopped banging our heads against the kitchen table - having put 4 children under 4 to bed -and drunk 2 litres of Tio Pepe and tonic water apiece, my sister decided that she was going to make courgette pasta for supper.

I have heard positive things about courgette pasta but have never believed it could possibly be much good. But it is! The courgettes add a kind of subtle, crunchy freshness. At least, I think they do, we put so much cream and parmesan cheese all over it that the courgettes may have got a little bit lost.

I'm writing about this, despite believing strongly that no-one ever needs to be told what to do with pasta, just because the addition of mint made quite an interesting twist. This is, to my mind, a very chic thing to have with a salad as a spring lunch for a lot of people.

Courgette pasta
for 2

As much pasta - linguine or spaghetti I'd say - as you want
1 courgette
100mls cream - any sort
1 large handful of parmesan and a smaller handful for sprinkling
a small bunch of mint, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 a lemon
some olive oil
30g butter

1 Grate the courgette on a big-holed grater.

2 Boil the pasta and dress with some olive oil

3 Add all the other ingredients and stir.

This is why I don't really suggest pasta recipes.


  1. I like this kind of recipe. When incredible amounts of cream/cheese/deliciousness are entirely justified because there are COURGETTES in it and it is therefore healthy.

  2. Two courgette posts in a 1 week span. My taste buds thank you!

  3. Is it courgette season already?

  4. I like the idea of adding mint; will give it a shot!

  5. I used to have courgette and mint pasta a lot in Sicily - it is delicious, very light and spring-y!

  6. Forget about the courgettes, I can't believe you declined dinner at the best restaurant in the world, before it closed forever. :-(

  7. This looks delish. Also, yay, you are back-ish!

  8. Bought some parmesan at lunch time so we can have this tonight, really looking forward to it.

    I watch what I eat, well sort of.......and thought you might like to see this American site which is full of gorgeous recipes which have the added bonus of being diet friendly at no expense to flavour.

  9. This was lovely - thank you! So simple, quick and tasty.

    As we eat with our eyes I banned my husband from the kitchen as the sight of a bowl of grated raw courgette would have sunk this before he even tasted it....he ate two bowls and loved it too.

    Next time I might use my julienne peeler so the courgettes are in ribbons to match the pasta.

    Thanks again

  10. I made this again last night and it was just as gorgeous as first time round and wanted to say thank you - it's great to have a new easy pasta recipe which I have decided is also healthy as it still tastes quite light despite the cream......

    I've just realised this would be my 3rd consecutive comment on this topic - just wanted to say thank you so no need to post as I dont want to appear a stalker or courgette obsessed.....

  11. I just made this recipe for 2, and ate it solo It was so delicious and obvs extremely healthy. It's amazing that after 100ml of cream, a block of parmesan, lugs of olive oil and a cup of butter adding a wee courgette and a sprig of mint and lemon made me feel extremely healthy ! Good start to the week of health and detox.
    Julie fucking Andrews

  12. I have FINALLY made one of your recipes! Had a load of courgettes for some random reason and had a vague recollection of reading this post. Was really yummy and super quick to make as we were off out. Used low fat creme fraiche to be healthy. Then went out and ate the biggest ben & jerrys sundae you've ever seen. Oopsie.