Summer Zucchini Bolognese

 
Summer Zucchini Bolognese – Forgive me a bit of a basic recipe today, guys, but I do have a pretty good excuse actually. We got married yesterday and my head is still in a bit of a haze. We had an amazing day – thank you for all your well wishes we received across all our social media.
The day was really perfect, with plenty of things we care about and none of the things that do not matter to us in the slightest…There was almost zero stress involved, an approach that we consciously adopted from the outset, although we did possibly take our ‘let’s play it by ear’ attitude to the extreme when we did not think to preorder flowers. So 30 minutes before the ceremony, we ended up walking to (including climbing the highest and wonkiest steps in the Bristol Old Town in high heels) three local florists asking if they can possibly make us a wedding bouquet, like NOW. Things were not looking good initially, but we got third time lucky and did walk away with a beautiful bunch of flowers in the end.

INGREDIENTS

SAUCE
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes OR 400 g / 14 oz can quality chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 Romano pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • a pinch of chilli flakes, adjust to taste
  • a pinch of dry thyme, adjust to taste
  • 1 courgette or small zucchini (about 150 g / 5 oz), coarsely grated
  • salt, adjust to taste
  • black pepper, adjust to taste
REMAINING INGREDIENTS
  • chopped capers, to garnish
  • dry-roasted walnuts or sunflower seeds, roughly chopped, to garnish
  • 200 g dry pasta (GF if required), cooked

 

METHOD

 

  1. Gently heat up the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the diced onion and sauté on a low heat until translucent, stirring frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, if using fresh tomatoes, remove the skins by making a shallow cris-cross incision at the top of each tomato and plunging them into a pot with boiling water for a few seconds. Chop the peeled tomatoes quite finely.
  3. Add chopped garlic to the onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Finally add the diced red pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes or so.
  4. Coat the onion / garlic / pepper mixture in nutmeg, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and dry thyme.
  5. Add the tomatoes and about a cup (240 ml) of liquid (water or stock + a splash of wine works well too).
  6. Simmer on a medium heat until the tomatoes fully break down and all of the excess moisture cooks out. If the sauce gets dry, but the tomatoes are still very chunky, add a bit more liquid and carry on simmering. Remember to give the sauce a good stir from time to time.
  7. Once the sauce has reduced, season and add grated zucchini. Simmer the sauce with the zucchini for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning – I like to under-season slightly and top my pasta with chopped capers at the end (which adds a bit more saltiness).
  8. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce, top with chopped walnuts and capers.