Il pranzo é servito

My typical day at the moment consists of a walk and errands in the morning, coming back to the boat for lunch, writing in the afternoon and then heading to work late afternoon, picking the children up from school around 16:30.

My favourite part of the day then is lunch! And it is taken very seriously by the two men on board the boat who have been working hard all morning. Lunch is either a meze style offering of many little dishes, including mozzarella with balsamic, prosciutto crudo, salad, bread and lots of vegetables in oil – my favourite is the carciofo, the artichokes. Another option is pasta with vegetables, and my favourite of this choice so far is courgettes. The courgettes here are amazing, full of flavour and there are several different varieties available at the moment. So for lunch today why not try:

Pasta zucchini

For 3

2 courgettes, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lemon, lots of olive oil, 300g of pasta (spaghetti is best), a big nob of butter

Fry the onion and the garlic (slice the bulb lengthways for nice big pieces) in plenty of olive oil over a nice low heat. You are aiming for soft mushy flavour here, not crispy, and you don’t want the garlic to burn as it turns bitter. Using a peeler, thinly slice the courgette, stop once you get to the middle, the seedy bit, as this is very moist and tends to fall apart.  In another pan, fry the courgettes until they are soft with some colour. Splash some lemon juice into the pan as they are cooking along with plenty of ground pepper. To add a little diversity, it is nice to pan fry one courgette and then griddle larger, thicker slices of the other one as this adds a lovely caramelly, nutty flavour. Put the pasta into boiling water and cook until very al dente. You want to finish the cooking in the frying pan with all the vegetables and if there is one thing Italians hate, it is over cooked pasta! So to bring the dish together, put the onions, garlic and courgettes into one pan. Drain the pasta, retaining a cup of the cooking water. Put the pasta in the pan with the vegetables and stir well. Add a little of the cooking water if the pasta looks dry, it wants to be lovely and silky with olive oil from cooking the vegetables. In a small pan, brown the butter and then pour this over the pasta just before serving. Sprinkle finely sliced lemon peel over the top to serve in the frying pan, and voila! Il pranzo é servito!

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