I have been living in London for some time now – 6 years – and have noticed that my hiberno-english lilt has absorbed some new words and phrases, I recently caught myself saying mate and as though to make room I am losing the frequency of some old regulars e.g. I am saying grand alot less. It’s all part of adapting, people still don’t understand what I am saying at times, although that may have alot to do with my rush to say everything especially when I am enthusiastic about the topic. What I never expected was that someday, out of the blue, I would call a courgette a zucchini. Where did that come from? I live in England, I am from Ireland, it’s a courgette in both places! I blame cookbooks and American televison shows, it’s as though, through some process of verbal osmosis, the external zucchini influences overpowered the courgette ones and forced itself out one evening unexpectedly. I am now making a very conscious effort to say courgette, which may sound very silly, I suppose it is, but I feel mixed up enough as it is so I am sticking with it!
So, recently, following the purchase of some very pretty yellow baby courgettes and some courgette flowers I decided that I would make a
zucchini courgette carbonara and stuff the flowers with goats cheese and courgette and deep fry them. it took me ages to find courgette flowers, the farmers markets don’t appear to be selling them attached to the courgettes anymore which is an awful shame and when I did find them they cost £1 for 3 flowers on their own. That seems a bit steep! A couple of days after this purchase as I was preparing to cook them, Jamie Oliver did something very similar on his new show, Jamie at Home. I was really annoyed as I thought, damn, everyone is going to think I am copying him. So as a preface, I’ll explain how I first came across the carbonara recipe, it’s a nice trip down memory lane for me anyway. I’ll blog the courgette flower recipe another time.
My first encounter with homemade courgette carbonara was in Naples many years ago at a friends then boyfriends-ex-girlfriends house (you following?!). I was an impressionable 21/22 then and was really excited at seeing how easily and brilliantly it came together. It was a great night, we were drinking wine from their Tuscan vineyard with this delicious pasta and to top it off (I think) we were driven home in Isabella’s blue Fiat 500. It’s at times like this that I wish I had kept a diary. It’s all quite vague! That may have alot to do with the Tuscan wine.
The pasta that night was different to the one I am blogging here as it also had cherry tomatoes in. This may have been in place of the usual pancetta as two of us were vegetarian, this works really well if you want to try it sometime. This time I only used courgettes and pancetta as the courgettes were so flavoursome I wanted the dish to be all about them.
This is very quick, the carbonara takes only as long as the pasta takes to cook.
Ingredients (for two generous portions):
zucchini courgettes, quartered lengthways and sliced
5 slices pancetta, cut into lardons
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 free range (preferably organic) egg yolks
25g pecorino sardo, finely grated (or parmesan if you can’t get it) plus a little extra to serve.
Cook the tagliatelle according to packet instructions in salted water.
Once that’s started, fry the pancetta on a high heat in a frying pan until crispy.
Add the courgettes and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
The tagliatelle should be ready by now, when it is add the drained pasta to the pan.
Let it cool for a couple of minutes and add the egg yolks and cheese and toss to mix. The egg yolks will cook slightly on the hot pasta but will retain a creamy texture. Be sure to allow the pasta to cool down just a little, otherwise, the egg yolks will scramble.
Season with S&P & serve with some grated pecorino sardo.