My go-to cookbook is the amazing The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander. Whenever I’m not sure what to do with a vegetable, particularly if I have a lot of something, I refer to the chapter in Stephanie’s book and pick out an always-delicious recipe. The other week we had a lot of zucchinis delivered in our vegetable box and I did just that.
This recipe is inspired by Stephanie Alexander’s Slow-cooked Zucchini. I love the idea of cooking zucchini for a long time to create a glossy and unctuous texture. It makes this simple ingredient so luxurious.
I decided to turn the zucchini into a creamy pasta bake, because how can you go wrong with a creamy pasta bake?
This is a great comfort food dish. I happened to make this dish on a night when bedtime for the little one was particularly trying, and dinner was eaten tag-team between my husband and I. This is the perfect dish for solo eating. Decadent, rich and luscious. Enjoy!
Creamy slow-cooked zucchini pasta bake
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 4-5 zucchinis, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 250g fusilli
- 20g parmesan, plus extra
- 200g crème fraîche
- 30g butter, melted
- 50g breadcrumbs
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over a moderate heat and add zucchini and garlic. Lower heat and cover. Cook for 20 mins, stirring frequently until the zucchini has become squidgy and will mash easily.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mash the zucchini with a fork or potato masher, and add the lemon juice, chilli flakes and anchovy fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven at 180° Celsius.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.
- Add ½-1 cup of pasta water to the zucchini mixture to loosen, along with the crème fraîche and parmesan. Add cooked pasta and stir.
- Put pasta mixture into a roasting tray and top with breadcrumb mixture. Grate an extra layer of parmesan over the top of the breadcrumbs.
- Cook in the oven at 180° Celsius for 15-20 mins until golden and crunchy.