Here we are. I seem to be having a courgette/zucchine obsession. Well, in my defence, they ARE everywhere this time of year and you know what they say, when life hands you lemons, make Limoncello … no no no. When life presents courgettes, find a way of making them interesting.
Some fresh chilli for instance. As in the above photo.
Since I am making pasta, I know I shall want some grated cheese – and I opt for a mixture of pecorino and parmesan. There is no one about wanting to help me grate the cheeses so I choose to cheat. This is not the best way to grate cheese because it can’t be fine enough. But it was fine enough for me that evening.
What you see are eight slices of thinly sliced (by my butcher) of guanciale, pork jowl. If anything can make a pasta dish more ‘interesting’, it’s most definitely guanciale: think Amatriciana, think Carbonara, think Gricia. I cut the guanciale up into smaller portions.
I cooked the guanciale over a low heat so that its fat would render. And I waited for it to become a little crispy.
While the guanciale was cooking, I set about removing most of the pulp from the courgettes. Talking about kitchen toys as I did in my previous post, that tool you see with a white handle is a courgette corer. Very handy for when you want to make stuffed courgettes. You can also use it as an apple corer.
I slimmed down the courgettes and cut them down to bite size.
And now it’s almost time to cook. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a big saucepan and add garlic, pepper corns and fresh mint.
Once the courgettes have been slimmed down even more into large cubes, turn the heat on, cook the garlic until it becomes golden, and then add them.
I added the fresh chilli too. The veggies were cooking under quite a fiery heat.
And now I did the porky ‘thing’ of adding the fat rendered from the guanciale to the mix. Only the fat. Save the guanciale meat for later.
I swithched the heat off and blended the courgettes as much as I could.
The blending became easier after the addition of plenty of cream.
The last addition was the grated cheese. Time to test. Add salt and pepper as required.
Drain the pasta directly into the large saucepan, add a little cooking water and toss and turn until the pasta is well coated and/or has absorbed some of the sauce.
See what I mean? I added yet more fresh mint leaves. And last, the crispy guanciale. You could, if you wished, add the guanciale directly onto the pasta served on a plate. But people were getting hungry, all eight of us and there wasn’t time for such a nicety. There was some extra grated cheese already on the table for those who wished to add a sprinkling on top of their plate.
So eager was everyone to dive in, that no one took a photo – not a single photo of the delicious pasta on the plate ! So what you see above is the pasta (what was left of it) the day after. Sigh.
The good thing was that someone got to eat these leftovers. Pasta can indeed by reheated and enjoyed – but only ONCE. I wrote that in capital letters and will repeat: pasta can be reheated but only once.
Anyway. The title of this pasta is Pasta Ulrika, in honour of my delightful niece from Sweden who was visiting.
Shame about the lack of photo to show how enticing this humble mix can be – but give it a try anyway, I think you’ll like it very much.