Cooking for an Italian is as vital as breathing and walking, and often we don’t cook from a recipe, but somehow we know how to make the most of what we’ve got.
Very often in Italian cookbooks there are terms like q.b. (quanto basta) it means that there is no specific quantity for some ingredients, but you need to use your judgment and your taste to decide how much is enough.
Today I went to visit a friend for a nice chat over coffee and she showed me her beautiful vegetable patch, I couldn’t resist and I picked a yellow courgette and a courgette flower and, as soon as I’ve got home, made into lunch!
Often here in Scotland, people don’t like courgettes as they find them bitter and soggy.
The secret to good courgettes is to pick them when they are still small as they are sweeter and cook them in a large frying pan on a high heat, without stirring too often, until they have a nice colour. Add the salt only at the end otherwise they will start releasing moisture and they will become all mushy.
This pasta dish doesn’t have a “sauce” but more a dressing or an accompaniment to the pasta.
Although I cooked it ad occhio and without a recipe, I made a recipe card for you to try this lovely summer dish.
If you only have courgette flowers just cook the onion first, or shallots as they have a more delicate flavour, as the recipe suggests and add then the flowers, cut in strips.
Remember to add the flowers at the last minute and too cook them very briefly to keep all the vibrant colour and the delicate flavour.
Pasta with courgettes and courgette flowers
- 6 zucchini flowers, stems and centre removed
- 4 small courgettes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopper
- 350g caserecce pasta (or any other short pasta)
- Grana or Parmesan cheese at taste (q.b.)
- salt and pepper
- Gently rinse and dry the flowers and the courgettes.
- In a large frying pan add the oil, the onion and the sliced courgettes over medium/high heat.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
- While the pasta is cooking, continue to cook the courgettes until coloured and then add the flowers cut in strips. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another minute, then add the pasta and a little of the cooking water.
- Add parmesan cheese at taste.