Recipe taken from The Pasta Man: The Art of Making Spectacular Pasta, With 40 Recipes by Mateo Zielonka (Quadrille, £15)
This is a dish that reminds me of my friend, neighbour and keen gardener, Steve. I love inspecting his kitchen garden with him and sometimes I come away with some freshly picked vegetables or a handful of herbs. With such a simple recipe, good ingredients are really important and fresh local produce makes such a difference. If you can find a yellow courgette, it will bring a splash of sunny colour to this mainly green dish, and it also seems to make it taste creamier. If you do grow your own, you can always slice and add the courgette flowers to the sauce at the end.
- 400g egg tagliatelle (see below)
- 250g courgettes (about 3 medium courgettes)
- Bunch of mint
- ½ bunch basil
- 90ml olive oil
- Parmesan, to serve
Prepare the courgettes: cut off the ends and grate the courgettes using the large holes on a box grater. Transfer to a colander or strainer, sprinkle with salt and leave for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, gently squeeze the grated courgettes to remove any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, pick the mint and basil leaves and, leaving some small mint leaves for garnish, roughly chop the rest. Bring a large pan of water to the boil in readiness for the pasta.
At the same time, add the olive oil to a large saucepan on a medium heat, then add the grated courgette (zucchini) and a ladleful of boiling water.
Salt the boiling water for the pasta, then drop in the tagliatelle and cook for 1½-2 minutes. Using kitchen tongs, lift the pasta into the pan with the courgettes. Scatter in the mint and basil and toss everything together. The sauce should just coat the pasta (you're unlikely to need to add any more of the pasta cooking water for this dish).
Check the seasoning and garnish with the remaining mint leaves. Serve with a chunk of Parmesan and let everyone help themselves.
Classic egg dough
- Makes 400g, enough to serve 4
- 300g Italian 00 flour
- 3 eggs
Place the flour on a clean work surface or board and shape it into a mound. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle. Using a fork, break the egg yolks and start to gently whisk them.
Draw in the flour a little at a time and continue to combine with the fork. When everything starts to come together, use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth. Use the heel of one hand to push the dough away from you, and use your other hand to turn it 90 degrees after each knead – you will soon develop a lovely rhythm.
When the dough is smooth, form it into a flat disc. Wrap it tightly in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or ideally overnight.
Using a food processor
Place the flour in the processor bowl and secure the lid. Start the machine, then pour the eggs into the funnel. Mix for 30 seconds, until the dough has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
Tip onto a board or into a bowl and use your hands to bring the mixture together to form a neat disc. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate, as above.
The name of this pasta derives from the word tagliere, which means ‘to cut' in Italian. Start with half the dough, leaving the other half wrapped, and have ready a tray or baking sheet dusted with coarse semolina.
Roll out your pasta dough, stopping at setting 7, then cut the sheets into 25cm lengths.
Attach the pasta cutter to your machine and guide the sheets through on the tagliatelle setting.
Dust the cut pasta with semolina and either lay it flat or lift it by the centre of the strands and curl it into individual nests on the tray.
Leave to one side for 30 minutes, so that the pasta dries slightly before cooking. If you are shaping the tagliatelle more than an hour ahead of cooking, cover the whole tray with clingfilm so it is airtight.
Photo: India Hobson
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