September 1997

Topsham, 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.
Now, 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 island.

Spaghetti coi zucchini


450 g/ 1 lb freshly picked courgettes

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, sliced on the diagonal

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500 g or about a pound of spaghetti

Wash and 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
Drain the spaghetti when cooked, and add to the wok. Turn heat to high and toss to coat well. Serve immediately.

Wine 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.

Copyright © Marc Millon 2000


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Copyright © Marc and Kim Millon 2000