Forever summer, 279pp.
by Nigella Lawson
Chatto and Windus, London, 2002
Cooking on page 32
Summer is officially over in Australia—every year the country moves to autumn on 1 March. But I love summer so thought this recipe might help string out the season.
I bought this book almost a decade ago, long enough after the TV series so I didn’t pay full price. People seem to love or hate Nigella. I have several of her cookbooks and have always had reasonably good luck with the recipes I’ve made.
Today I’m cooking on page 32.
Pappardelle with courgettes, sultanas and pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
750g (4 medium) courgettes (zucchini)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2–3 tablespoons Marsala
25g pine nuts
250g egg pappardelle
3 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based saucepan, and cut the courgettes into very fine rounds before adding them to the pan. Mince in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes stirring every now and again. When they are ready the courgettes will have sweated down—if you’ll forgive the expression—but still retain some colour and shape. In other words, you’re looking for a certain mushiness without going so far as out-and-out pulp. Not that it matters: if you forget these are on the stove and let them cook until they reach the state of pure, undifferentiated sauce, you will still have something pretty heavenly on your hands. Besides, in Sicily, you will find that different cooks have different preferences: as ever, there is no one way to cook the same thing.
While all this is going on, warm the Marsala, pour it over the sultanas and leave them to plump up for about 15 minutes, or longer if you want. Once the courgettes are cooked, stir the sultanas and their amber juices into them. Taste for seasoning. Toast the pine nuts by cooking them in a dry frying pan until they turn a golden brown, and remove to a cold plate.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, then drain and tip into a warmed bowl. Add the courgette mixture and fold and toss to combine. Sprinkle over the pine nuts, parmesan and most of the chopped parsley and toss everything gently together again. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and take to the table.
Serves 6 as a starter; 4 as a main course.
How it played out
My biggest challenge was finding pappardelle. No luck at Australia’s two largest supermarket chains, but success at Canberra’s independent Supabarn. I knew I should have started there—it’s close to home.
Once I had all the ingredients, I made this as written except that I didn’t bother warming the marsala. Instead I let the sultanas soak for about an hour.
A nice enough pasta dish. The pine nuts and sultanas are lovely additions. This light meal is reminiscent of summer because it provides a great way to use up some of the glut of zucchini one gets then—I have two big ones in the fridge. 🙂
Three of us shared this meal for dinner and there were enough leftovers for a single lunch the next day.
I’m sure you noticed that the instructions sound like the script from Nigella’s ‘Forever Summer’ TV series.