A delicious and delectable pasta dish, celebrating the best of summer produce. Sliced courgettes are grilled until charred and sweet, stirred through a tangle of pasta in a simple, creamy sauce, and scented with lemon and fresh mint.
After a slow start, the summer vegetables are really going for it in our garden this year, so we’re always trying to think of new and delicious ways to use them. This was something I threw together of an evening when the kitchen was overrun with courgettes, and is something I could (and will) eat time and time again.
Courgettes, or zucchini if you’re that way inclined, have a gorgeous sweet and buttery flavour, especially when fresh and on the small side. For this recipe they are griddled to add a lovely bit of charred smokiness, and to avoid the sliminess that courgette-suspicious can be wary of. This is the most time-consuming part of the dish as the courgette strips need to be grilled in batches, but everything else can be pulled together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
How to make courgette linguine
Begin with the courgettes. Steer clear of the larger ones as these can be watery and flavourless; small to medium gourds are best here. Slice them into long strips, about 2–3mm thick. You want them nice and thin so that they’ll cook through in the time it takes to char the outside, though too thin and they can burn. Add the strips to a bowl or dish and drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with salt.
I use a griddle pan to cook the courgettes, but you can use a grill, BBQ, or even just a frying pan. Whichever you choose, get the pan or grill nice and hot – I use a medium-high setting on my hob – then add as many courgette strips as you can fit in a single layer. Cook for 1–2 minutes on each side, until the strips are covering in beautiful dark lines (or until there are a few dark patches, if you are using a frying pan). Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and continue to cook the remaining strips in batches.
You can prepare the rest of the ingredients in between your courgette grilling. Slice 3 garlic cloves as finely as you can, zest and juice half a lemon, strip the leaves from a small bunch of mint, and bring a large pot of water to the boil, with plenty of salt (about 1 tbsp per litre). Make the cashew parmesan by placing the cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt, in a small blender cup or food processor bowl, and blitz to a powder.
Add the linguine to the large pan of water once it’s boiling, and cook for a minute less than the packet instructions specify so it’s just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving 200ml or so of the starchy water, then refresh the pasta with some cold water and add a drop of oil to prevent it from sticking.
While the linguine is cooking, place a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and add some vegan butter or oil. Once hot, add the sliced garlic and fry slowly for 4–5 minutes. If it starts to colour, turn the heat down further and add a splash of pasta water. After 4–5 minutes it should be soft and sweet-smelling.
Turn the heat up to medium and tip in the vermouth and lemon zest. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes then tip in the cooked pasta. Give everything a stir, then sprinkle over approximately two thirds of the cashew parmesan and a little of the pasta water. As you stir, it should start to form a creamy sauce. Add a little more pasta water as necessary – you want a sauce that just about clings to the pasta; loose but definitely not runny.
Stir in the lemon juice, and grind over some black pepper. Taste and add some more pepper or salt if necessary (the pasta water will be salty so you may not need any extra). Chop the mint (I roll the leaves into a cigar shape and finely slice then), and stir into the linguine along with the courgettes.
Serve with the remaining cashew parmesan and some lemon wedges, for a sumptuous, summery pasta dish.
Other courgette recipes
If you’re overrun with courgettes, or just want to make the most of the season, here are a few other ideas to try:
- Crispy fried courgettes with a herby yogurt dip
- Indian rice salad with summer vegetables
- Gado Gado (Indonesian salad with spicy peanut sauce)
And if you give this recipe a try, I would love to hear how you get on! You can comment below, use the star rating at the top of the post, or find me on Instagram or Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Linguine With Courgettes, Mint, And Lemon
Sliced courgettes, grilled until charred and sweet, and stirred through a tangle of pasta in a simple, creamy sauce with lemon and fresh mint.
- 2–3 small courgettes (approx. 300–350g)
- 3 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 10g (small bunch) fresh mint
- 40g (⅓ cup) cashew nuts*
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast*
- ¼ tsp salt*
- 200g (7oz) linguine or spaghetti (gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 tbsp vegan butter or oil plus extra for grilling
- 85ml (⅓ cup) dry vermouth
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Slice the courgettes lengthways into 2–3mm slices. Heat a griddle pan (or grill or frying pan), over a medium-high heat. Put the courgettes in a bowl and drizzle with a couple of teaspoons of oil and a pinch of salt, and ensure they’re evenly coated. Once the griddle is searing hot, add as many courgette slices as you can fit in a single layer. Cook for 1–2 minutes on each side until beautifully charred, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and repeat with the remaining slices.
- Put a large pan of salted water onto boil (about 1 tbsp salt per litre of water). Slice 3 garlic cloves as finely as you can. Zest half of the unwaxed lemon, then slice in half. Set the un-zested half aside, and juice the zested half. Pick the leaves from your sprigs of mint. Put 40g cashews, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and ¼ tsp salt in a small blender cup or food processor bowl and whizz to a powder.
- Once the water is furiously boiling, add 200g linguine and cook for a minute less than the packet instructions recommend; just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving around 200ml (¾ cup) of the starchy water, then refresh the pasta with a little cold water and drizzle with a little oil to prevent it sticking.
- While the pasta is cooking, put a large frying pan on a medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of vegan butter or oil. Once hot, add the garlic and slowly fry for 4–5 minutes until soft and sweet and only just starting to colour. If it’s frizzling up or colouring too soon, turn the heat down and add a splash of the pasta water. After 5 minutes, turn the heat up to medium and add 85ml vermouth and the lemon zest. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes, then tip in the linguine and give everything a good stir.
- Tip in approx ⅔rds of the cashew parmesan, and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. As your stir, the sauce will start to become a little creamy. Add more pasta water as needed to create a sauce that just clings to the pasta. Crack over a little black pepper, then taste and add a little more pepper or salt as necessary (the pasta water is salty so you may not need to add much more).
- Roll the mint leaves into a cigar shape and finely slice, then stir into the pasta along with the grilled courgettes, and the juice from half the lemon. Split between two bowls, halve the lemon half you reserved easier and serve each dish with a lemon wedge. Transfer the remaining cashew parmesan into a small dish for additional sprinkling purposes.
*For a nut-free version, replace the cashews, nutritional yeast and salt, with 45g store-bought vegan parmesan (most are made from coconut but check that it is nut-free). Whizz it as you would the cashew version and use it in the same way in the recipe. The sauce texture will end up a little less creamy, but should still be delicious.