Devon 15 September 1997
A sudden early-autumn glut of local, organically grown courgettes (zucchini)
provides us with a chance to feast on this simplest of pasta dishes
-- spaghetti topped with courgettes fried in olive oil and garlic. We
first enjoyed this simple repast in the same season a few years ago
when we found ourselves on the island of Vulcano, in the Aeolian archipelago
north of Sicily. After hanging out in the hot springs and wallowing
in the yellow mudbaths, we washed ourselves in the sea, then, smelly
strongly of sulphur and rotten eggs (but who cares, everyone else did
too), we repaired to a little, local trattoria where we feasted
first on pasta, then on deep-fried fish.
preparing this dish -- the smell of hot garlic in olive oil combined
with the slightly charred, burnt smell of the fried courgettes -- transports
us immediately back to scents and feel of that pungent and primeval
1 lb freshly picked courgettes
extra virgin olive oil
of garlic, sliced on the diagonal
freshly ground black pepper
500 g or
about a pound of spaghetti
thinly slice the courgettes. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large skillet
or frying pan. Fry the courgettes, tossing them so that they don't burn,
but cooking them well so that they are rather crispy and sweet.
bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti
until al dente, about 9-11 minutes. Do not overcook! Once the
courgettes are crispy, turn heat to low, the sliced garlic, and gently
stew, adding a ladle of pasta water if necessary.
the spaghetti when cooked, and add to the wok. Turn heat to high and
toss to coat well. Serve immediately.
Suggestion: We enjoy this simple pasta with a sapid, rather salty
white wine such as a good Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Casale-Falchini,
Montenidoli, or Terruzi & Puthod. Alternatively, try it with a Lugana
from grapes grown on the western shores of Lake Garda.