Pasta with courgettes, lemon, and pine nuts

Summery pasta and vegetables

Serendipity rules! I’ve long liked Patricia Scarpin’s Technicolor Kitchen, but an incompatibility with my feed reader meant I didn’t follow it regularly (if a site isn’t in my reader, it doesn’t get read!). Then today I discovered the magic switch to make it work, and her last 25 posts whizzed into view. I spent a happy half hour browsing them while simultaneously wondering what I was going to cook tonight, because it’s the end of the week and I haven’t been shopping.

What luck! I had all the ingredients for this recipe to hand, and it took barely longer to make than the time needed to boil the pasta. It’s very adaptable, and I loved the fresh flavour imparted by the lemon zest and juice. A new default dinner to rival tagliatelle carbonara! Picture taken hastily just before we dived in.

Note:the original recipe is credited to the late Sher, who sadly died unexpectedly a month ago, and whose blog I didn’t know about till today.

Linguine, tagliatelle or other similar pasta (enough for 2)
2-3 small, firm courgettes
Mixed fresh herbs of your choice: I only had basil to hand, but parsley, thyme, marjoram, and/or chives would be good too
1 lemon
6 tbs good olive oil
a handful of pine nuts
3-4 shallots or 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 tbs capers, rinsed
1 large ripe tomato if in season, or 2 sun-dried tomatoes
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan or crumbled feta

Put some water on to boil and slice the courgettes into matchsticks. Chop the herbs roughly, and grate the zest of the lemon. Squeeze the juice of half of it and reserve.

Heat 2 tbs oil in a small friying pan and fry the pine nuts until they are very lightly coloured; this will only take a minute. Add the chopped onion or shallot and sauté over a medium heat until the onion is soft — don’t burn the nuts in the process. Tip into a bowl along with the capers, herbs, and lemon zest.

When the water boils, add salt and the courgette sticks and boil for one minute, then remove the courgettes with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl. Return the water to the boil, add the pasta, and set the timer. Warm serving dish and/or plates.

If using fresh tomato, halve, squeeze out the pips and juice, and cut into dice. Sun-dried tomatoes can just be cut into strips. Add to the bowl.

When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, slosh over the rest of the oil, and add lemon juice. Toss the whole lot together so that the pasta is coated with oil, and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately with a scattering of Parmesan or crumbled feta.

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