Poor man’s courgettes – Salento style

Zucchine alla poverella, versione salentina. From Salento, Puglia.

  • 1 kilogram courgettes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • salt

  1. Sprinkle the courgettes with salt and drain in a colander for a while to remove some of their liquid.
  2. Fry the cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil until golden. Remove the garlic and discard.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry until done. Note: Shake the pan rather than stirring to avoid the courgettes becoming mushy.
  4. Adjust the salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve as an antipasto or a side dish (it is also good cold)

Courgette salad

Some friends recommended a little osteria in the old city, so I gave it a go last weekend. We were warned beforehand about the offhand rudeness of the staff. Just as well, because it wasn’t an exaggeration 🙂

“You want to eat? Sit there! No, not there, THERE!”

He was just as bad to the locals, so we didn’t feel picked on. The food more than made up for it. (It was actually quite entertaining in a ‘Fawlty Towers’ kind of way)

This is my attempt to recreate a salad served as part of the antipasti. Again, it is so simple that it doesn’t really count as a recipe. You must use really small and fresh courgettes though.

Courgette salad ingredients

Courgette salad ingredients

  • Small, very fresh courgette,, halved and then thinly sliced.
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt

  1. Season the courgettes with a little salt and then dress with oil and vinegar (about 3-1 oil to vinegar)
    Errrmmm…that’s it 🙂
Courgette salad

Courgette salad

The original version looked like this.

osteria antipasti

Nonna Stella’s courgette and mint frittata

Bari crestI stumbled across  this recipe on youtube. Nonna (granny) Stella has decided to provide us with a video course on ‘la cucina barese’ – the cuisine of Bari. Each episode shows Nonna explaining a recipe to her grandson. It’s really a pleasure to watch this wonderful old lady in action.  Like all the best cooks, Nonna doesn’t give precise measurements. She does it by look and feel. At one point he comments  ‘you’re using a lot of oil’ and Nonna replies ‘ that was 3 tablespoons’. All I can say is that they must have big tablespoons in her house 🙂
This is my attempt at the recipe.

Courgette frittata ingredents

Courgette frittata ingredents

Serves 4

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 4 courgettes, diced
  • 1 medium  onion
  • 4 tbsp  parmesan cheese or grana— grated
  • 3 tbsp  olive oil (!?!!)
  1. Fry the courgette, onion and mint in a non stick frying pan until the courgette has changed colour.
  2. Be careful not to overcook it. (You don’t want mushy courgettes). Season with a little salt.
  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the cheese. Mix well.
  4. When the courgettes are ready, add the eggs to the pan.
  5. Stir for the first minute or so and then wait for the eggs to start to set, shaking the pan from time to time to keep the frittata loose.
  6. When the eggs have set, turn the frittata with the aid of a plate, and return it to the pan.
  7. After another couple of minutes cooking, the frittata is ready
Courgette and mint frittata finished dish

Courgette and mint frittata finished dish

Courgette Carbonara

Another courgette recipe. We have a bit of a glut of them here at the moment so I’ve been asking around for recipes. I almost used the title ‘vegetarian carbonara’ but that would be missing the point. Italians don’t really get the idea of ‘vegetarian’ and ‘non-vegetarian’. If it tastes good, they’ll eat it. This dish stands up in its own right and is in no way a slightly inferior vegetarian ‘version’. Serves 4

  • 320 grams spaghetti
  • 200 grams courgette — Cut into rounds
  • 3 whole eggs – You MUST use very fresh eggs as they are only lightly ‘cooked’ in the heat of the pasta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled but left whole)
  • 4 tablespoons pecorino Romano— grated (or parmesan)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley — chopped
  • pepper
  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan with the garlic.
  2. Add the courgettes and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard.
  3. Mix together the whole eggs, the egg yolk and the pecorino.
  4. Season with pepper. (wait until the end to add salt as pecorino is very salty)
  5. Cook the spaghetti, drain and very quickly mix in the egg mixture.
  6. Add the courgettes to the spaghetti mixture.
  7. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter

Farfalle Gialle e Verdi. I had this for dinner tonight. Rather nice, even if I do say so myself. 🙂 Serves 4

Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter ingredients

Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter ingredients

  1. Fry Courgettes in a little olive oil over high heat until transparent. Set aside
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.
  3. Melt the butter in a baine marie. Add the saffron and let it infuse.
  4. Mix the pasta with the saffron butter
  5. Add the fried courgettes and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and serve
Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter finished dish

Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter finished dish