I am having one of those weeks where I simply don’t know where to start. It is my last week in my job and the mountain of work I have to get through before Friday is occupying ninety per cent of my thoughts. So much so that over the past few days I missed a friend’s birthday, nearly put hand soap on my toothbrush twice and forgot to place my supermarket order, missing my usual 6am Monday morning slot. Finding my handbag in the fridge would not be a huge surprise right now.
With Ocado unable to deliver for another 36 hours, last night’s dinner was a ‘what-can-I-make-from-what-I-have-in-the-fridge’ affair – an exercise that both tests your creativity and gives you a cavalier attitude to sell by dates. Luckily, I had half a bag of courgettes, not quite ready for the bin, some chillies, some basil and half a tub of creme fraiche left over from Ollie’s moules mariniere. I also had two eggs and a bag of type ’00’ flour. Voila pasta.
Making your own pasta is time consuming, however if you have shop-bought pasta, this dish will take ten minutes at the very most. A lot of people have been using vegetables, such as courgettes cut into ribbons or spaghetti squash, in place of pasta lately, so you could up the quantities of the sauce and have it without the pasta but, being a glutton in the midst of winter, I prefer it with a steaming tangle of fresh tagliatelle. The quantities of the recipe are tailored for my own taste, but I add an extra half a chilli when making the sauce for Ollie as he prefers spicier food. Feel free to add any other ends of veg you have kicking around the veg drawer too.
Tagliatelle with Courgettes, Chilli and Parmesan
- Enough pasta for two (see guide to making your own here)
- Olive oil
- Four large courgettes
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Juice of one large lemon
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
- 3 tsp creme fraiche
- Handful finely grated parmesan
- Five or six large basil leaves, roughly chopped
Cook the pasta in salted water. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the garlic for a couple of minutes on a low heat without letting it brown. Slice the courgettes into ribbons using a potato peeler and add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook for five to seven minutes, tossing occasionally. Using kitchen tongs, remove the courgette ribbons from the pan and set aside.
Add the lemon juice and chilli to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche and cook for a further minute until bubbling. Return the courgette ribbons to the pan, along with the grated parmesan and chopped basil, and toss the mixture together. Heat through and serve on top of the pasta.