Courgettes were, as I’ve said, a veg I associated with having the bollocks boiled out of them and served grey.  Yummy.  It wasn’t until started getting a veg-box that I learnt that there are far tastier ways to eat courgettes.  And, to be fair, at times, there are *a lot* of courgettes, so there a lot of courgette recipes in my brain…
One day, my darling Elizabeth babysat my kids.  Getting home from work, 3 kids (my 2 her 1) needed dinner, quickly. I think we had some ham or bacon, and some courgettes in the fridge.  Pasta is super handy when using up 1 or 2 courgettes because you only ever want a little veg to go with pasta.  I chopped the cougettes up super fine, cooked them with a lot of oil and shredded the meat. By the time the pasta was cooked,so was the veg. And because the veg was cut small, the kids ate some of it.
Note on cooking pasta: I’m reading Rachel Roddy’s ‘Five Quarters’ at the moment, and she’s reminded me to be a little more careful about cooking pasta.
Put on a big pan for your pasta – big.
Salt the water when the water is boiling, not before.
When you add the pasta to the boiling water, make sure it’s moving and separated (i.e., not in lumpy clumps).
Check the cooking time.  Take off 2 minutes and put the pinger on.  So if it says “8-10 minutes”, put the pinger on for 6 minutes.
Find a heatproof jug/small bowl and ladle (you want to retrieve about 80ml water)
After 6 minutes, remove a ladle/jug full of pasta water
Try some pasta.  It might be how you like it, you might want it a little softer.
Try it every minute or so.
If you are mixing the pasta with other ingredients in a hot pan (as with this recipe) you want it a little under-done because it will keep cooking in the pan)
Drain in a colander, but do not shake off every last droplet of water – that is why your pasta clumps together
Turn the pasta into the pan with the veg and meat
Stir, and pour in a little (about 15ml, or 1 tablespoon) of pasta water. This helps to combine the ingredients.

Courgette pasta

Serves around 4


around 250g courgettes (2-3) weighed before grating
around 200g bacon
olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic (to taste)
300g pasta
Cheese, for grating
Salt and pepper

Sharp knife
Chopping board
Large frying pan (big enough to fit
courgettes, meat and pasta)
Large saucepan
Wooden spoon
Heatproof jug/ladle and heatproof bowl

Optional tools
Garlic crusher

10 minutes prep
25-30 minutes cook



Cut the tops and tails off the courgettes
Cut them into 3 inch/10c long pieces
Next, cut each chunk of courgette lengthwise, so you have about 4 strips of courgette
Then cut them into fine dice (squares) around 5mm wide
Put the bacon in the frying pan and put the heat on medium – you want the meat to fry in its own fat. Add a little olive if you need, to get the cooking going
When there’s some fat going sizzle, add the courgettes- you may need to add some more oil
You do not want to brown the courgettes, you want them to soften without colouring
Put your pasta water on
When the water is boiling add salt and then the pasta
Put the pinger on for 2 minutes fewer than the packet directs
Whilst the pasta is cooking, finely dice/squash your garlic
When the pinger goes off, save a a small jug of pasta water (around 50-80 millilitres) in your heatproof jug/little bowl
Try the pasta – you want it a little underdone because it’s going to cook more with the courgettes
When it’s ready, strain the pasta in the waiting colander
While the pasta is draining, take the garlic and stir it into the pan with the courgette and bacon
After about 30 seconds you should smell the garlic
Stir the pasta into the pan with the courgettes
Pour in about a tablespoon (15ml) of pasta water and some salt and pepper
Stir these together
If the pasta is a little too sticky, then pour in a little more water until you have the
consistency you like
Serve with lots of cheese!

Storage/further meals

As you have used a good amount of pasta water, you shouldn’t have a solid lump of pasta in the bottom of a serving bowl/saucepan
Place any leftovers in a lidded container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days
Reheat in microwave or in a pan using a little water/chicken stock, or use a lot of chicken stock to make this the starter for a lovely chicken noodle soup
Or a pasta frittata
Or add some freshly cooked pasta and other veg for another meal






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