I am not quite sure how it can suddenly be September, what happened to August?

I’ve been wondering what to propose for the recipe of the month and I made this zucchini dish last night and it was absolutely lovely, so this will be it!  This might be a godsend for all you allotment type folks with a surfeit of courgettes/zucchini at this time of year.  I hear it has been a bumper crop.

I made a 1/3 of Sophia’s recipe with half a massive courgette I bought at the Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Society Autumn Show on Saturday for 50p.

Behold the splendour!

I had one portion of Sophia’s pasta for my dinner and will have the second portion for lunch today.  By my reckoning each meal cost me less than 50p!

As I paid £7 for a Vietnamese salmon and veggie soup yesterday from Camden Market for a work lunch, this makes me feel very virtuous indeed.

Known to everyone at work as simply “Kim’s” – my fave food spot in the market

For someone who hardly ever eats pasta, there is a LOT of it in my house.  Usually, I will have a tiny speck of pasta with a slagheap of sauce on top, but this recipe was a revelation, and how REAL Italians eat I have no doubt.

No sauce, just delicious courgettes fried up just like my mum used to do (my mum’s not Italian, but this is something I definitely remember her doing in the 1970s) and lashings of cheese.

I am guessing it’s mostly the lashings of cheese that make this so good, but the zucchini slices added a certain something too.

…and at last, an opportunity to use a few leaves from the basil plant that I’ve been nurturing on the window ledge for weeks and weeks during the heatwave.  It seems to be snuffing it now which irks me!  Am I overwatering it or underwatering it?  I have no idea…

Sophia has something sensible to say about courgettes… “Zucchini sometimes seems to be rather bland, and not very interesting.  But at the same time, it has a distinctive taste and great versatility.  It is very good in numerous pasta dishes, such as this one.  Perhaps we underestimate this simple, ubiquitous vegetable.”

Yes Sophia, I am sure we do!

I knew this would be delicious though, as my courgette came from the allotment of the legendary Gary Sycamore, President of the Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Society and winner of almost every bit of silver on offer at the Autumn Show.

He didn’t get the Cookery Cup though!  I scooped that one!

So here is Sophia’s recipe, do get in touch if you try this out, I thought it was really delicious.

I’m not sure I would risk frying my zucchinis in a white shirt with no apron…

Sophia Loren’s Tagliatelle con Zucchini

2 pounds young, thin zucchini

Olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano and pecorino cheeses, combined


Freshly ground pepper

1 and 1/2 pounds fresh tagliatelle or spaghetti

8 to 10 large basil leaves, cut into shreds

Cut the zucchini into 1/2-inch rounds.  Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the zucchini slices and fry until they are golden brown on both sides, add more oil as needed.  As they cook, place the zucchini slices on paper towels to drain.

Cook the pasta until just al dente, drain, and place in a serving bowl.  Add the zucchini, cheeses, salt and pepper to taste, and some of the oil from the pan, and toss well.  Sprinkle individual servings with the basil.

Monthly movie star menus direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!