When courgettes are plentiful in the late summer and early autumn, gardeners are often found giving away their produce. And if you are not lucky enough to know a vegetable grower, there are plenty of courgettes in the local food stores, vegetable stalls and farmer’s markets. The small ones are the best so if you are growing them, don’t let them become too big before you harvest them. The small ones are firmer and less watery than larger fruits
Courgettes are a summer squash. They are known in America as zucchini – a word that derives from the Italian – zucchino – meaning ‘small squash’. ‘Courgette’ is the french word for zucchini.
Courgettes are lovely on their own or part of a recipe. Great with cheese sauce, in stews and bakes
How To Cook Courgettes
Courgettes are an incredibly versatile vegetable and courgette recipes range from soups, casseroles, bakes to using courgettes in cake or bread. Try Courgette and Carrot Soup. Very easy to cook, courgettes do not require any peeling, but can simply be sliced or chopped then added to stews. Just as well they are so versatile, because at this time of year they can be so plentiful they have a tendency to appear in every meal.
They only require a few minutes cooking whether frying, boiling or steaming, and if they are being added to a casserole or bake, it is usually best to add them as the last ingredient, so they don’t overcook.
The first time I ever had courgettes, I had them in a cheese sauce, much like Cauliflower Cheese. It was delicious and quite light as a summer meal. It obviously made an impression on me as I clearly remember it during the very sunny summer of 1976. It was when I was really first learning to cook, in my teenage years and I think I was probably quite proud of what would have been then, quite an unusual dish!
Great With Pasta
Courgette is an ideal vegetable to go with pasta. It can be an addition to a macaroni cheese recipe or as part of a meat or lentil dish such as Vegetarian Lasagne.
This courgette recipe is easy to make and the ingredients can be varied according to what you have in your fridge or cupboard. Pasta is usually as staple in most peoples’ kitchens and can be combined with most vegetables and cheese.
Use what ever pasta shape you have. I usually use penne pasta (quills) for this recipe but pretty much any of the short pasta shapes will be ideal. Just choose your favourite.
If you are in a hurry, you can eat this dish, without the extra time in the oven – it just heats it all though together and allows the cheese to melt on the top.
Penny’s Courgette Pasta Bake
- 1 red onion peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red pepper de-seeded and diced
- 1 green pepper de-seeded and diced
- 2 medium courgettes sliced
- A few french beans
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 110g / 4oz grated cheddar cheese
- 350g / 12oz pasta (penne, shells – or use your favourite)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- In a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil
- Fry the onion until it starts to go soft
- Add the garlic, pepper and tomato and herbs
- Meanwhile put the pasta in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water
- Simmer for 12-15 minutes
- When the pepper is soft, add the courgettes and beans
- Cook for a further 5 minutes
- Put the pasta in a large bowl
- Stir in the onion, pepper and courgette mix
- Stir in 3/4 of the cheese
- Place in a large baking dish
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top
- Bake in oven for 25 minutes
Serve with a fresh green salad and some Balsamic Salad Dressing