Monday, April 18, 2011

Auntie Hannah's Courgette Thing

DON'T say anything, okay? We only had an iPhone to snap it with

It all started back in January when my husband was invited to the last dinner at El Bulli before it closes down forever.

"Do you want to go?" He said. "It's 52 courses."
"Thanks, I won't," I said, thinking about all the babyweight I was going to have to be losing once April rolled around. I told him to take X, my brother-in-law instead - a roaringly good eater of food, swiller of wine and maker of jokes. Just the fellow.

Some phone calls were made and plans were hatched. Then my phone rang.

"What the FUCK do you think you're doing?!" screamed my sister down the phone. "Why did you tell Giles to take X to Spain? Do you think it's FUN being alone with three children under 4? You fucking, fucking, fucking bitch. You'd better get your fat fucking useless arse down here and help me, as it's YOUR fault I'm on my own."

Okay, so she didn't say that. But I could tell it was what she wanted to say to me when she suggested that, as my husband and her husband were out of town, I might like to spend Sunday night with her in her house in Oxford. She can say a thousand words just with her tone of voice, my sister - all of them quite threatening. But unless you've lived with her for 18 years, to talk to her she's charming.

So I drove down on Sunday morning at 4,000 miles an hour in our brand new diesel family estate with Kitty illegally strapped into the front passenger seat (airbag) and arrived at about 9am.

I found the 4 year-old dressed as a spaceman standing in a patch of dead daffoils, the 2 year-old in the hallway chewing a battery and the 9 month-old sitting quietly in the kitchen, humming to himself.

"Don't want to," said the 2 year-old.
"Don't want to what?" I said.
"Don't... wannnn... tooo," he said and sidled away with his battery.

Anyway, the weekend continued like that for a while and then on Sunday night after we'd both stopped banging our heads against the kitchen table - having put 4 children under 4 to bed -and drunk 2 litres of Tio Pepe and tonic water apiece, my sister decided that she was going to make courgette pasta for supper.

I have heard positive things about courgette pasta but have never believed it could possibly be much good. But it is! The courgettes add a kind of subtle, crunchy freshness. At least, I think they do, we put so much cream and parmesan cheese all over it that the courgettes may have got a little bit lost.

I'm writing about this, despite believing strongly that no-one ever needs to be told what to do with pasta, just because the addition of mint made quite an interesting twist. This is, to my mind, a very chic thing to have with a salad as a spring lunch for a lot of people.

Courgette pasta
for 2

As much pasta - linguine or spaghetti I'd say - as you want
1 courgette
100mls cream - any sort
1 large handful of parmesan and a smaller handful for sprinkling
a small bunch of mint, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 a lemon
some olive oil
30g butter

1 Grate the courgette on a big-holed grater.

2 Boil the pasta and dress with some olive oil

3 Add all the other ingredients and stir.

This is why I don't really suggest pasta recipes.

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