Following on from my grilled cheese recipe I’ve got another another courgette recipe for you!
This is the first pasta recipe I’m sharing here on Glasgow Sprout and I thought I should make it one of my favourites. Inspired by a dish my mum used to make when I was growing up, this pasta is lovely and creamy while still being light and fresh. As always, I like to pack plenty of veg into my meals and a serving of this sauce includes an entire courgette – delicious and one of your five a day.
This is quick and easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner, but also appropriate for something a little fancier too. Pair it with a nice glass of white wine and some extremely good garlic bread (see Joshua Weissman for the good stuff) and you’ve got yourself a pretty good night in.
What type of pasta to use
I know there are types of pasta that are more appropriate to use with certain sauces, but I also feel like it’s also fine to just use what you like best? I’ve always been spaghetti’s number one fan – the only pasta I was interested in when I was wee was spaghetti, and while I’ve branched out since then it’s still my go-to.
Long pastas like spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, and tagliatelle are all great options. I also really like rigatoni, as you can see pictured! There’s no ‘wrong’ pasta to use – there might be pasta that’s not so appropriate (I’d say macaroni wouldn’t be the best with this), but it’s certainly not going to ruin the dish.
I’ve made this pasta over the years with a good few different types of cheese and the conclusion I’ve come to is that pecorino is best. However, I actually make this more often with a sharp cheddar because that’s a cheese I always have in the fridge, and that works great too!
If you’re not vegetarian then parmesan would work a treat too, but my vote would still be for pecorino.
Bringing the pasta and sauce together
Don’t just spoon the sauce on top of pasta and serve it like that. You do your pasta a disservice by not saucing it before serving!
A minute or two before your pasta is done add it to the pan with your sauce as well as a good splash of pasta water and keep stirring. This’ll 1) help to season your sauce (your pasta water should be nice and salty), 2) emulsify as you keep stirring resulting in a sauce that coats your pasta, and 3) the pasta will absorb some of the flavour from the sauce, which makes for a tastier dish!
The pasta is ready to serve when the sauce has thickened and clings to the pasta, but you should still have some sauce to spoon over due to the amount of courgette.
Courgette Chilli Pasta
- 200 grams spaghetti or rigatoni
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 small bird's eye chillies minced
- 2 medium courgettes coarsely grated
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 40 grams pecorino finely grated
- 40 ml single cream
- Prepare your ingredients by coarsely grating the courgette, mincing the garlic and chilli, and finely grating the pecorino.
- Boil a pot of water and heavily salt it before adding in your pasta of choice.
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat and fry your garlic and chilli for about a minute.
- Now add the courgette – it'll look a lot but it's going to cook down! Cook for about five minutes until reduced and enough moisture has evaporated that you don't have lots of liquid in the pan.
- Next add in the lemon juice, followed by the cream, pecorino and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Remove your pasta from the water while it's still quite al dente – a couple of minutes before the time specified on the package. Add it to the pan with the sauce and a ladle-full of pasta water. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta.
- Serve with additional grated pecorino and a good crack of black pepper.