Fried courgette, cheese and spinach pasta
- May 2016
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 1 hour
Bountiful supplies of courgette mark the start of summer, so why not fry up this delicious vegetable and toss it into a summery pasta for your next mid-week dinner.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 36.5g (14.2g saturated)
- 75.9g (5.3g sugars)
- Olive oil for frying
- 4 courgettes, sliced on the diagonal
- 150g spinach
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- Small handful fresh oregano leaves
- 400g short pasta (such as cavatappi)
- Juice 1 lemon
- 200g ardrahan cheese, sliced into chunks (see Know-how)
- Large handful fresh basil leaves
- Handful pine nuts, toasted lightly in a dry frying pan
- Heat a large frying pan with a good glug of oil over a medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add enough courgettes to cover the pan in a single layer – you’ll need to do it in batches. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden, then flip and repeat until they’re evenly dark golden and blistered. Remove to a large sieve or colander, set over a bowl and continue until all the courgettes are fried, topping up the oil as needed.
- Add another glug of oil and the spinach, and move it around the pan until it wilts. Remove the spinach to the sieve with the courgettes, put the pan back over a gentle heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and oregano leaves. Heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant (don’t let the garlic colour), then remove from the heat, tip the reserved veg back into the pan and set aside.
- Bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the pack instructions until al dente. Drain quickly, then tip into the main pan and toss everything together with the lemon juice. Stir through the ardrahan and basil, then taste and season. Divide among bowls, scatter with the toasted pine nuts and drizzle with a little more olive oil to serve.
You could use hazelnuts instead of pine nuts. A few chilli flakes would also be good – add them with the garlic.
Fry the courgettes, drain off any excess liquid, then chill for up to 8 hours. Warm in an oven before tossing with the pasta.
Ardrahan is a semi-soft washed-rind Irish cheese. It’s available from Waitrose, Ocado and good cheesemongers. You can substitute mozzarella or stinking bishop or, if your guests aren’t strict vegetarians, taleggio (the latter isn’t made with vegetarian rennet).
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