Courgettes with Bacon

Zucchine al Guanciale

Sadly, this is one of those recipes which has fallen into disuse and risks being forgotten forever in its native Marche. It results in very soft courgettes which are excellent with chicken dishes. See the introduction to Piselli col guanciale for information about this superior bacon and recommended substitutes.


  • 12 small, tender courgettes salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 oz (200 g) guanciale or pancetta or good-quality back bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 very large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (optional)
  • oz (40 g) parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 lb (450 g) canned tomatoes, drained, de-seeded and coarsely chopped


Peel the courgettes carefully to remove all the green skin. Slice them into discs ¼ inch (5 mm) thick and put them in a colander. Place the colander in the sink, sprinkle the courgettes with plenty of salt and leave for 1–3 hours to allow their juice to drain away. Then rinse the courgettes and dry them carefully.

Fry the guanciale, pancetta or bacon together with the onion until the onion is browned and soft. (Use 1 tablespoon oil or butter if the guanciale is not very fat.) Mix in the parsley and garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the courgettes, mix thoroughly and cook gently for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with plenty of pepper just before serving.