Linguine tossed with courgettes, pumpkin seeds and green beans

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

Pasta is one of the world’s great comfort foods and, like polenta and potatoes, it is the blandness that is the basis of the appeal. The flavours you add to it, whether a meat- or vegetable-based mixture or sauce, are what makes the dish. But not quite. There is pasta and then there’s pasta. Next time you shop for some, buy one of the more artisan types. They’ll generally have a more interesting texture and flavour, and this only enhances the finished dish. You can omit the chilli if you prefer, but I’d rather you just added less than leave it out completely – it brings all the flavours together. The pumpkin seeds, pepitas, can be cooked up to a week in advance.

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • flaky salt
  • 400 g dried linguine
  • 1 red or green chilli, thinly sliced into rings
  • 4 banana shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 200 g fine green beans, topped
  • 8 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 large courgette, cut into Asian julienne
  • large handful of finely grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Mix the seeds with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a few pinches of flaky salt, and bake on the lined tray until they colour slightly, about 10–15 minutes, stirring them once or twice to ensure even cooking.

Bring a large pot containing 2–3 litres of lightly salted water to the boil and add the linguine, then cook until it’s done to your liking. I cook mine so that it has the slightest bite to it, which will take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand of pasta. Tip it into a colander and sit an inverted plate on top to keep it warm.

Return the pot to the heat and add the remaining oil, the chilli, shallots and garlic. Sauté until the shallots have wilted and are beginning to colour, then add the beans and toss them in the mixture. Add 6 tablespoons of hot water, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add the courgette to the pot with another 2 tablespoons of hot water, stir and sit the pasta on top. Cover again and cook for another minute.

Tip into a bowl, toss together with half the cheese and divide between 4 serving bowls. Serve the remaining cheese in a small dish.