Recipe: Capellini Pasta-filled Baked Courgettes

Recipe: Capellini Pasta-filled Baked Courgettes


  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 30g butter
  • 2 large courgettes
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • finely grated zest and juice of a lemon
  • 150g-250g cooked South Devon Pasta Co Hand-made Einkorn Capellini
  • 50g-100g pesto (optional)
  • 100g mozzarella, cubed and patted dry.
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • breadcrumbs, optional

In Italy you’d call these ‘zucchine ripiene al pesto’ but - whatever you call them - they’re delicious and one of those mainstays of Italian home-style cooking. I use the very fine Hand-made Einkorn Capellini from the South Devon Pasta Company, and find the delicacy of it swirls and fills the courgettes without any heaviness. They can be made in advance and baked in just 20-30 minutes when you’re ready to serve them. I prefer the courgette slightly al dente, and I think the flavour is better slightly undercooked too, but do bake them longer if you prefer a softer result.


Peel and chop the onion and garlic, place them in a saucepan with the butter plus a tsp salt and a few tablespoons of water, then cook over a high heat so the water boils and the steam starts to break down the onion. Lower the heat and cook until the water evaporates and the onions are soft and golden, then keep warm in the saucepan off the heat.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the courgettes then place them on the chopping board. Trim off any excess stalk, but leave about 1 cm (this helps the courgette to hold together during cooking). Find where each courgette has a flattish side so it will sit steadily without wobbling. I roll them about on the board to find the most stable position. Then slice off just the top quarter of each courgette, from end to end. This will give a deeper 'boat' shape that will hold more filling. Leave the tops to one side, and with a teaspoon, carefully scrape out most of the middle from each courgette leaving a thickness of at least ½cm of flesh, so the unpeeled courgettes keep their shape.

Chop the flesh scraped out of the courgettes and add this to the saucepan, and cook again until the moisture has evaporated. Dice the reserved tops from the courgettes into small cubes then stir these into the saucepan with the chilli powder, lemon zest and juice plus salt and pepper to taste. Fry a few minutes more but leave the cubes of courgettes a little undercooked.

Fold the cooked capellini pasta through the hot courgette mixture, together with pesto to taste if you like. Season the insides of the courgette shells well, then fill them with the pasta mixture. Any remaining pasta can be spooned into the bowl when you serve them. Place the courgettes on a baking tray, top with the mozzarella and breadcrumbs then drizzle with olive oil. They’ll hold at this point for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

To serve, bake for 20-30 minutes for a slightly al-dente texture or 40-50 minutes for a softer courgette. Spoon some of the remaining pasta, piping hot, in each bowl, carefully placing the cooked courgettes on top.

Recipe by Dan Lepard

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