It’s coming up to the end of May and summer hasn’t made an appearance. However, I’m not letting the weather dictate my mood or what I cook up in my little Peckham kitchen. At this time of year, many of my favourite ingredients are in season. Aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes. That real Meditteranean vibe. So I love to cook up my favourite recipes inspired by my beloved Puglia.
Usually, over the next few months, picnics, BBQs and other alfresco social events would normally happen. So when creating a mouth-watering spread for my guests, a good pasta salad doesn’t go a miss. There is nothing better than a pasta salad to graze on over and over again.
This courgette pasta salad is inspired by a dish enjoyed one late night in Puglia in my friends Valentina’s garden. A creamy courgette sauce, flavoured with mint and pistachios. Just dreamy!
When it comes to the perfect pasta salad, the pasta is just as important as the other ingredients.
- Choose a shape that is short rather than long, and isn’t too dense. For this recipe, I am using Casarecce, a southern Italian short shape with a slight twist. However, other popular pasta salad shapes include ‘fusilli, ‘farfalle’ or ‘penne’.
- It’s worth spending a few more pennies on a good quality pasta such as Garofalo. Pasta made with high-quality semolina, helps to retain starch, hold its shape and give that perfect ‘al dente’ texture, perfect for a pasta salad.
- Garofalo pasta is bronze-died, which gives the pasta a rough, porous surface making it perfect for sauces to bind and cling on to.
- You can buy Garofalo pasta at Amazon, Ocado and Italian food shops.
So whether you’re looking for a quick delicious summer pasta dish or sexy healthy salad for an alfresco spread to share with friends and family, give this courgette pasta salad recipe a go.
Enjoy my bambinos!!
For the full recipe video, head here.
Courgette pistachio pasta salad ( 4/6 people)
200g raw peeled prawns
Juice of half a lemon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 courgettes, chopped into 3 cm chunks
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
250g Garofalo casarecce pasta
30g Parmiggiano Reggiano, grated
3 tbsp shelled pistachio, chopped
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Fresh black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a pasta pan of water to the boil
- In the meantime, fry 1 chopped clove of garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil on a low heat for 1 minute. Then add in the prawns, along with the lemon juice. Cook the prawns, until they turn from grey to pink. Set aside the cooked prawns with the juices.
- Next, heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil on a low heat and gently fry the chopped onion and leftover garlic with a little pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes. Then add the courgette and half of the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Coat the vegetables well in the olive oil and onion/garlic. Cook until they have softened.
- When the pan of water has come to the boil, season it generously with sea salt. Cook the pasta ‘al dente’ – as long as instructed on the packet of pasta. Before draining the pasta, reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water.
- When the courgette and tomato have softened, place all the cooked ingredients into a blender with a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water and blitz until you have created a thick creamy consistency.
- Place the drained pasta into a salad bowl, pour the courgette sauce on top and add the cooked prawns, the rest of the cherry tomatoes, Parmiggiano Reggiano and chopped pistachios. Stir all the ingredients together until the pasta is well coated. Finish the salad with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and chopped mint. Serve warm or at room temperature.
**This recipe is a paid collaboration with Garofalo pasta.