Sunday 22 October 2006

spaghettini con zucchini

Phew! I’ve been having serious computer woes. For some bizarre reason I haven’t been able to get into Blogger since last Monday. I suspect it’s more to do with my Broadband connection than Blogger, since it’s taking forever to upload new windows (although ironically only in Blogger).

But let’s get down to some Weekend Herb Blogging.

After flicking through my stepmother’s Marie Claire & Donna Hay magazine, I came home with a hankering to cook a summer meal based on a photo I saw. I hadn’t read the instructions but it seemed very simple so Jonas and I set about to recreate our own version.

Spaghettini con Zucchini
Anna & Jonas’ version of a Donna Hay photo. Serves 2.
3 zucchini
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 thick slices stale bread
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
Rind of a lemon, finely grated
Juice ½ lemon
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Olive oil, for cooking
Salt & pepper, for seasoning
Parmigiano to serve
200g+ dried spaghettini
1. Put bread into a food processor and pulse until they form rough breadcrumbs.
2. Put water onto boil for the pasta.
3. Grate the zucchini on a coarse sized grater. Squeeze zucchini over sink, or wrap tightly in cheese cloth and wring the excess liquid out.
4. If pasta water has boiled, add salt and then spaghettini and cook as per packet directions.
5. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Fry shallot, chilli and garlic until soft and translucent in the case of the shallot.
6. Add zucchini, salt and pepper, and fry. Zucchini will leak considerable juices into the pan so continue cooking until it’s soft and only a little moist.
7. At the same time, heat olive oil in another frying pan. Add breadcrumbs and lemon rind. Continue frying and stirring until crumbs go gold and crispy. Add oregano and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
8. When pasta is ready, remove from pot and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid.
9. Return pasta to cooking pot and add zucchini. Mix to coat. Add lemon juice and a little olive oil if needed.
10. Divide pasta into bowls and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Serve with lots of parmigiano.
Note: The zucchini will go very soft and absorb the flavours from the garlic and chilli so it’s important to have breadcrumbs to add texture to the dish.

As a kid I hated zucchini. Dad used to serve them up steamed and I couldn’t stand the soft, nothingness of them.

When I lived in Italy I learnt to cook them in magical ways and became a zucchini addict. I realised how versatile they can be and how easily they can take on the flavours around them.

Now I even enjoy their simple, natural flavours with gusto.

Cucurbita pepo is cucumber shaped and usually yellow or green, although some can be shaped like a bottle. Although we treat zucchini as vegetables, they are actually fruit (oopps, don’t tell Tim!) because they are the ovaries of the flowers.

The little flowers are delicious too, stuffed with rice or cheese then baked or battered and fried. Yummy!

The ancestry of zucchini is in the Americas, although the exact form that we know developed in Europe as a mutation on those imported from the American colonies. Apparently this occurred in Milan in the 1800s.

These little lovelies have two common names in the English speaking world: the Italian origin zucchini (American, Australian and Canadian English) or the French origin courgette (New Zealand and British English). It’s interesting to note that both the French and Italian names are diminutives for squash/pumpkin: courgette from courge and zucchini from zucca.

This week’s Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Pat from Up A Creek Without a PatL. Be sure to visit the round-up.




  1. Anna,
    I just made a similar pasta dish yesterday! I love zucchini + shallot this combination too! Never try to add bread crumb, but it does sound great!

  2. Sorry to hear about the computer woes. It was fun to hear that you lived in Italy. No wonder you're such a versatile cook! This sound wonderful. I was a zucchini convert myself.

  3. Mmm...we have some zucchini around the house right now..this might be a good use!

  4. That looks soooo good and healthy! The ingredients are making me drool...


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