Monday, 25 June 2012

Courgette & Chilli Penne

This recipe is for those people who have reservations about cooking with courgettes because they think they are bland and also for those who may have visited the same restaurant as me, eaten the same dish and thought that they would like to re-create it at home and save themselves about seven quid. Courgettes / Zucchini are full of water and need to be cooked correctly or they taste of nothing. For this dish, they are grated and then firmly squeezed to release all of their liquid. I've had this a few times in Carluccios who serve it with huge pieces of Penne and deep fried spinach balls. This is my interpretation anyway which tastes very fresh whilst delivering quite a bit of heat through the garlic and chili. There isn't actually a sauce as such, but the texture of the melted cheese and veg still works well to coat the pasta.

Ingredients (for 2 people) : 150g Penne, 2 large courgettes grated and firmly squeezed, half a bulb of crushed garlic, finely chopped red chili, 100g grated Parmesan, 3 finely sliced shallots, 1tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, seasoning

1. In a pan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta as per normal.
2. On a medium heat, fry the courgettes and shallots in the olive oil. The mixture will reduce down by about half during the cooking process. After about ten minutes, add the garlic and the chili.
3. Cook for a further five minutes. Keep stirring the veg as you don't want it to colour.
4. By now the pasta should be cooked, drain and reserve a couple of spoonfuls of the water.
5. Add the cheese to the veg and stir in until it has all melted. Now add the pasta and mix thoroughly.
6. The sauce will become sticky, so just loosen with a couple of glugs of extra virgin olive oil and give it a few grinds of black pepper.

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