Nigel Slater’s Spinach and Zucchini Bucatini Recipe | Food

A quick pasta supper with summer vegetables and crème frache.

Wash 200 g of baby spinach leaves. While the leaves are still wet, place in a saucepan, cover tightly with a lid and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the leaves begin to wilt. Lift the lid and turn them over with kitchen tongs and cook for another minute until soft and emerald green.

Immediately dip the leaves in ice water, then squeeze out most of the water with your hands. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Bring a large, deep pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and use to cook 200g bucatini, spaghetti or similar thin pasta al dente.

Peel and crush a clove of garlic. Cut a large zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half again and then into thin slices. Cook until translucent in a little olive oil in a shallow pan – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic. When the courgettes start to soften after 4 or 5 minutes and the garlic has turned pale golden, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Wipe the pan clean, add 200 g of crème frache and heat gently over medium heat. Add 150 g frozen peas and then the chopped spinach.

Drain the pasta, leaving 2 tbsp of cooking water with the pasta. Add the pasta and reserved water to the vegetable sauce and toss gently and divide between 2 bowls. Serve with a little grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese and half a lemon for juicing. Enough for 2.

If using fresh peas, cook them in a little boiling, lightly salted water before adding them to the zucchini.

When the young pith comes into season, this is a good way to use them. The skin is thicker than that of a zucchini, so remove it with a vegetable peeler before slicing.

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