Spaghettini squared pasta with olive oil, garlic and courgettes

Spaghettini squared pasta with olive oil, garlic and courgettes

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time15 mins
  • DifficultyEasy
340g wholemeal dried spaghettini
340g courgettes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsps coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
50g grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra to serve
25ml basil oil, recipe follows
1) Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

2) While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, cut the courgettes into julienne strips. Season with salt and pepper. Finely cut courgettes do not need to be cooked, if you prefer chunkier pieces, place them in a colander, suspended over the pasta pan, cover and steam until still slightly crunchy, about 2 minutes.

3) Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and saute briefly until light brown. Turn on the exhaust fan and add the red pepper flakes. Quickly mix in the basil and parsley and remove from the heat.

4) When the pasta is al dente, drain through a colander, reserving about 120ml of the pasta cooking water.

5) Pour the pasta into a warm serving bowl and add the courgettes, basil oil, garlic mixture and 50g of cheese. Toss well, adding cooking water as needed to make a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as needed. Grate about 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top and serve at once.

Cook's Note: The reason to save the basil oil to toss with the pasta at the end is so the oil will have a fresh, uncooked taste.

Basil oil (and other herb flavoured oils):
For soft herbs, such as basil, parsley, coriander or tarragon: Use 100g leaves to 500ml pure olive oil.

For woody herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano or lemon verbena: Use 100g of stripped leaves to 500ml pure olive oil.

1) In a blender, puree the herbs and oil until completely smooth. Put the mixture in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer for 45 seconds and then pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Don't press on the mixture, but you can tap the strainer against your hand to get the oil to drip through faster.

2) Immediately strain the oil again through a flat-bottomed paper filter. If the filter clogs, you may need to change the filter partway through. It's okay to pick the filter up and squeeze it gently to get the oil out faster, but be careful not to break the filter. (Sometimes a little dark liquid comes through the filter first. Don't worry; that's water. It will settle to the bottom because it is heavier than the oil.)

3) Let the filtered oil settle for a few hours, then pour it off the dark liquid. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place.

Cook's Notes: The oil passes through the filter faster if it's filtered while still hot, so set up your filter before you start the recipe. You'll need a flat-bottomed paper filter, like those used for some drip coffee machines. Cone-shaped filters tend to get clogged.

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