herby courgette pasta bake
Mon, 24 August, 2020
There is nothing better than a pasta bake, and with the courgette crop in abundance, this is the recipe to bookmark.
What to do with courgettes?
Courgettes are the main rant of every summer: what to do! how to cook! why so many! how to flavour! It’s like we flagellate ourselves with the old zucchini every year: plant some, get a crop much bigger than expected, realise we don’t even like them that much.
A groundbreaking courgette recipe!
I’m hoping one day I’ll create a miraculous recipe using courgettes as the main ingredient. It will be a ground-breaking, flavoursome like the devil himself, incredibly ingenious combo of the old courgettes treated after an unusual fashion and paired with the most unexpected ingredient of all.
This is not that recipe. But it's not half bad either.
Pasta bake always wins
I’m sorry to disappoint you: this is a completely standard, ordinary pasta recipe with roasted courgettes mashed into fusilli or penne. But hey! Pasta mixed with absolutely ANYTHING and then baked, sprinkled with cheese or even not, makes an irresistible dish.
Who in their right mind would refuse lasagne - veggie or original? Carbonara twice as gorgeous means pasta, bacon and all twirled into nests and baked for 20 minutes to be rendered golden, crispy and seductive.
Pasta, cheese, oven
To be honest, you could bung any old veg into al dente pasta and elevate it to dizzying heights by sprinkling cheese over and baking it for twenty minutes. So pasta al forno is the queen of pasta, even if it involves courgettes. It could be that it's the roasted garlic that makes this recipe - baked in the skins and squashed out into a paste to coat the pasta; you might as well forego the courgettes...
A note on preparing courgettes
There are two schools of courgette thought: one to salt it and the other not to; I’m of the salty orientation but accept the no-salt tribe’s arguments: the courgettes don’t get mushy, char better and keep their shape.
I admit I prefer to salt the courgettes into oblivion, but the non-salting option begs to be tried so I might take it to a test soon. Either way, this is a thoroughly useful courgette pasta recipe – and what more would you expect of a courgette recipe?
herby courgette pasta bakeServings: 2Time: 1 hour
- 4-5 medium courgettes
- 4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 200g (2 cups) fusilli or similar chunky pasta
- 50g (2 tbsp.) grated Pecorino
- 3 tbsp. mixed chopped herbs: tarragon, parsley, dill, thyme
- 2 tsp butter
1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8 with a rack set in the middle.
2. Top and tail the courgettes, slice them lengthwise into 1cm thick strips. Arrange them on a baking tray with the garlic cloves, season generously with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Roast for about 20-25 minutes until charred on both sides, turning over halfway through.
3. In the meantime bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and return to the pan.
4. Lightly butter a shallow gratin dish or a baking tray.
5. Stir half the grated cheese and most of the herbs into the pasta. Season with black pepper.
6. When the courgettes and garlic are out of the oven, turn it down to 190C/375F/gas 5. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and mash it lightly. Stir into the pasta.
Toss the pasta with courgette slices and turn it out onto the prepared dish.
7. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, dot with the remaining butter and bake for 15-20 minutes until it’s crisp to your liking. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs and serve.