Recipe: Pasta-filled baked courgettes
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-style home cooking. I use a very fine Capellini pasta like our Hertigae Grain one from the South Devon Pasta Company, and find the delicacy of it swirls and fills the courgettes without any heaviness. These can be made in advance and just baked in 20-30 minutes when you’re ready to serve them. I prefer the courgette slightly al-dente, I think the flavour is better slightly undercooked too, but do bake them longer if you prefer it softer.
Ingredients and Method
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 large courgettes
½ tsp chilli powder
finely grated zest and juice of a lemon
150g-250g cooked Capellini pasta
50g-100g pesto, optional, see link
100g mozzarella, cubed and patted dry.
salt and pepper
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic then place in a saucepan with the butter plus a tsp salt and a few tablespoon 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 the stalk end to about 1 cm but leave it otherwise intact. Find where the courgette has a flattish side so it will sit steadily without wobbling. I roll it about on the board to find the most stable position. Then I slice off just the top quarter of courgette. This will give you a much deeper boat shape that will hold more filling. Leave the tops to one side, and with a teaspoon scrape out most of the middle from each courgette leaving a thickness of about ½-2/3 cm of flesh so the unpeeled courgettes keep their shape.
- Chop the filling from the courgette filing then add this to the saucepan and cook again until the moisture has evaporated from the flesh. Chop the remaining top slices from the courgette 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 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 each with the pasta. 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’re 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. Serve with the remining pasta piping hot in the bowl.
We hope you enjoy!