Warmer days bring the chance to get back in touch with the essence of fresh and simple ingredients. You won’t want to be standing over the stove for hours on end, so take a moment to really savour the magic of fundamental flavours. Subtle in its seasoning and hearty enough for an evening meal, this dish of pappardelle with courgette ribbons will be an elegant addition to your table. The unctuous pasta and the sweet onion are attuned by the smoky crunch of the toasted pine nuts. And it wouldn’t be a spring kitchen without a burst of citrus, so this quick and easy recipe has it all!
Ingredients (2 people)
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Begin by bringing a large pan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and a glug of olive oil for even better pasta prep.
Cut the red onion into small pieces and crush the garlic cloves, before adding them to a frying pan with some olive oil. Fry gently on a medium heat so that the onions soften.
To make the courgette ribbons, cut the courgette in half, then make very fine, vertical slices. Add these to the onions and keep them cooking at a medium, or even low, heat so that they soften; the aim is for them to take the same shape as the pappardelle.
Now it’s time to cook the pasta. Tagliatelle is a good alternative if you don’t manage to find pappardelle. Normally, it will take about 10 minutes to cook, but a lot less if the pasta is fresh, so adapt your timing accordingly.
Whilst the courgette and the pasta are cooking, prepare the pine nuts. To toast them, take a small saucepan or frying pan, and heat the pine nuts dry (no need to add oil). Keep a very close eye on them and keep them moving; they burn very easily. This will only take around a minute, so don’t forget about them! Put the toasted pine nuts to one side.
After around 8 minutes of cooking, when the courgettes are nice and soft, add the lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for about 2 more minutes. In the meantime, drain the pappardelle.
Plate up the pasta and top it with the courgette mixture, adding the toasted pine nuts and some chopped fresh basil to finish.
Citrus is decidedly not a good friend to red wine due to its acidity, so we’ll be leaning towards a white when pairing this dish. In the true spirit of summer, we’re heading to the south in search of the perfect bottle for this mediterranean meal. Staying on a bit of an Italian theme, Vermentino is a grape with a freshness that goes hand in hand with lemon flavours. At the same time, it has beautiful aromatics and a slightly vegetal profile to complement the herbs added to the recipe. As well as being grown for Piedmont cuvées, we find Vermentino, known as Rolle in southern France, in several wines from the regions of Provence and Corsica. Domaine Yves Leccia, for example, produces superb whites with a fruity character. Clos Canarelli, also from the Ile de la Beauté, crafts cuvées that express their warm but windy terroir with wonderful freshness.