I ate the first courgettes from the garden last week. This is so much later then usual, they’d normally be cropping from June onwards, after sowing seed indoors in April. For regular readers, you might remember that none of my seed germinated this year. I’d normally have courgettes Defender & Soleil on the go, so that I have a nice mixture of green and yellow skinned fruit, but this year I picked up two unnamed plants from the local garden store, they are cropping nicely, producing plenty of neat green fruits.
It’s a kind of tradition (for me!) that I make pasta with courgette, mint & feta with the first crop, partly because it’s delicious and partly because due to my ever expanding waistline, which I am attempting to shrink, pasta features so rarely on my table so it’s quite a treat. The original recipe comes from Apples for jam by Tessa Kiros, but I make it slightly differently and prefer fresh mint to dried and spaghetti to angel hair pasta.
Courgette, mint & feta pasta
1 medium courgette (or 2 small)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and lightly squashed (so it stays in 1 piece)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
40 g feta
80-100 g (depending on how
greedy hungry you are)
lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste
I like to make up the ‘sauce’ in advance, as I eat separately to my boys and long before my husband is home from work, I need tea (or ‘dinner’ to non-northern folk ) to be quick and easy.
Slice the courgettes quite finely. Add to a bowl, coat in olive oil (if you do it this way, instead of oiling the pan and adding the plain courgettes, you’ll need less oil, you can always add more for flavour if you aren’t worrying about the calories), season (go easy on the salt as the feta is quite salty) add the garlic clove, mix together then fry in a large pan. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, it’s really just there to flavour the oily courgette mixture and ideally let the courgettes brown a little by leaving them in a single layer in the pan and don’t overcook. Fry in batches if you’re making a larger or double portion so you can get some browned bits.
Remove to a bowl, leave to cool. Crumble your feta on top of the cooked courgettes, and add the mint and a good squeeze of lemon juice. This is the stage I make up in advance and store in the fridge until I’m ready.
When ready, cook the pasta to the packet instructions, add the contents of the courgette bowl. Check the seasoning and eat.
It’s such a simple dish but one I always look forward to. I can imagine a knob of butter melted into the whole lot at the end tastes heavenly, but as above, I daren’t add any extra fat, I still have a lot of baby weight to lose (ha ha, my youngest is 5!!!).