If you follow any of my other social media feeds, you can’t fail to notice that we’ve been consuming a lot of courgettes. Our two plants (one per person, based on advice I read online) having been pumping out the summer squashes and we can’t blink without another flower appearing. So far we haven’t got sick of them; this whole vegetable growing lark is still new and novel to me!

This recipe was initially going to be a courgette carbonara but I then thought I’d rather like to chuck in quite a bit of garlic and some chilli too. And I forgot I had some thyme outside and I reckon it would be quite good with that too. Apart from being quite tasty, it had the added benefit of coming together in about 15 minutes, perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Eggy Courgette Pasta

Courgette and Egg Spaghetti
serves 3 or 2 with leftovers for a lunch.

about 250-300g dried spaghetti
olive oil
3 small-medium courgettes
2 large cloves of garlic, fined minced
a couple of large pinches of dried chilli flakes
4 medium (or 3 large) eggs
about 30g of pecorino romano, finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set of pot of water to boil. Salt it well and set the spaghetti to boil.

In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic and chilli flakes. Let sizzle gently for a minute – you don’t want it to colour. Meanwhile, trim and grate the courgettes and then add all the gratings to the pan. Turn up the heat to medium and cook, stirring often.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and pecorino with salt and lots of black pepper.

By the time the spaghetti has finished cooking, the courgette should be done. Turn off the heat for the courgettes in the sauté pan and add the drained spaghetti. Working quickly, pour over the eggs and then mix altogether well to get a creamy sauce. Serve.

Spaghetti carbonara has to be one of the best store cupboard pasta dishes that one can whip up in the time it takes for the spaghetti to boil. We’ve only just discovered that the addition of something green is absolutely brilliant as it helps cut the richness a little and you certainly feel better about getting your greens in even with such a quick meal.

While I’ve seen recipes for courgette carbonara, we like the addition of broccoli. Broccoli keeps for ages in our fridge and well, I just feel courgette can be a bit boring at times. Adding the broccoli doesn’t add any time to the preparation of the pasta dish as it’s cooked with the pasta. And, of course, as my Italian colleagues are likely to shout at you – no cream! The egg and cheese and pasta water will make it all creamy by itself.

Farfalle and Broccoli Carbonara

Broccoli and Bacon Carbonara
serves 2.

250g dried spaghetti or other pasta shape you need to use up (farfalle in our case)
olive oil
5 slices smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
about 1/2 a small head of broccoli
3 medium-large eggs
about 30-50g grated pecorino romano
salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Set a large pot of salted water to boil and get your pasta cooking.

Crack all your eggs into a bowl and beat them well. Add the grated pecorino romano and season with salt and lots of black pepper and beat well again.

Heat a large saute pan and add a little olive oil. Chop the bacon/pancetta and fry off the pieces slowly. Keep on a low heat when ready.

Chop all the broccoli (the stem too) into small pieces and toss them into the pasta water when the pasta is almost done. When the pasta is ready, the broccoli will be too – drain them both and add to the warm pan with the bacon. Stir and while stirring, pour over the egg mixture, and keep mixing all together. The egg and cheese should coat the pasta without scrambling. If it’s looking a bit too dry, add some of the pasta cooking water. Serve immediately.

It’s getting hot in here… in the kitchen, I mean! Our living room/kitchen becomes quite the sauna in the afternoon and while we do want something freshly cooked for dinner, we don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking it. Enter this recipe.

Tuna with Lemon and Basil Spaghetti

I originally saw a recipe for tuna, lemon and basil spaghetti on a Waitrose recipe card but felt that the amounts needed a bit of adjusting. More capers, some pine nuts for texture and flavour and ditto with black pepper were added along with an extra good glug of olive oil. One day, we found ourselves with no basil and so substituted parsley with good results. It’s a great summer pasta and it comes together quickly with barely any time spent over a hot stove.

Tuna with Lemon and Parsley Spaghetti

Spaghetti with Tuna and Lemon
serves 2.

1 can or jar of a very good quality tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
4 tsps capers
3-4 tbsps pine nuts
1 small bunch basil or a small handful of parsley
200-250g dried spaghetti or linguine
freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Set a large pot of water to boil and when it is, salt it well and start cooking your pasta.

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the pinenuts, stirring often (adding a little olive oil to fry them is also recommended!). Set aside. If using basil, cut the leaves into a chiffonade and set aside; if using parsley, chop it and set aside.

In a large bowl, empty the can of tuna and gently flake it into bite sized pieces with a fork. Add the zest of the lemon as well as its juice. Roughly chop the drained capers and add those along with the toasted pinenuts. Grind in as much black pepper as you like.

The spaghetti should be done by now. Drain and add to the bowl. Toss everything together, add the herbs and continue tossing until mixed well. Add more olive oil if it looks like it needs it – we use quite a bit! Serve.

I’m submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Fuss Free Flavours.

Hey, it’s another quick pasta dish suitable for busy weeknights! As usual, no time to cook plus a tiny kitchen that needs some new organisation results in fast meals. I do pride myself on making do with what I have though and what I did have a while ago was quite the bounty of mushrooms and only little ol’ me to feed that night. It was pasta I was craving and I came across a Jamie Oliver recipe online that would suit. There’s a lot of hate going around for him and say what you like but his recipes are ideal for the small kitchen.

Spaghetti with Mushrooms

This dish really highlights the flavour of the mushrooms so do branch out from the regular white button ones. I’ve made this spaghetti a few times already, each time with a different combination of interesting mushrooms (the photos are from two different days). Oyster mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and Portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and enoki mushrooms – endless combinations! And hey, if you can afford it/find them, wild mushrooms would be superb.

Spaghetti with Mushrooms

Spaghetti with Mushrooms
adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver.
serves 2.

200-250g spaghetti or spaghettini
300-400g assorted mushrooms, cut or torn into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced finely
a large pinch of chili flakes
2 tbsps olive oil
splash of white wine
large pat of unsalted butter
juice of half a lemon
a small handful of parsley, chopped
salt to taste

Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the oil, followed by the garlic and chili flakes. Stir briefly and then add all the mushrooms. Continue stirring. When the mushrooms start exuding water, add the splash of white wine and continue cooking until the mushrooms are as done as you like. Add the pat of butter and the lemon juice and stir through. Salt to taste.

The water should be boiling by now. Salt well and then boil your spaghetti until al dente. Drain and add to the mushrooms along with the chopped parsley and toss. Serve.

I’m submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Remember that huge trayful of eggs? We’re not finished with them yet! We had quite a number of meals of fried eggs (once with fried Spam in a sandwich) and then luxurious scrambled eggs drizzled with truffle oil, all on toast. We actually went through those eggs quite quickly due to their diminutive size – I’d gladly take another trayful but the chickens are growing and so are the sizes of their eggs. No more bargain egg trays for the rest of the year.

I came across this recipe for fried eggs and spaghetti on Mark Bittman’s blog in my initial search for egg recipes and made it one night for dinner, tweaking it by keeping the garlic and adding another breakfast classic, bacon. Why not? Bacon and eggs, go together like a horse and carriage… or something like that. It’s kind of like a carbonara but with more of an eggy chew, I reckon. Anyway, this meal comes together in about 10 minutes – once again good for late weekday nights.

Bacon and Fried Egg Spaghetti

Bacon and Fried Egg Spaghetti
serves 2.

4 rashers bacon (any kind you want), finely chopped
4 small eggs (or 3 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
a good pinch of dried chili flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a small handful of flat leaf parsley, minced
200-250g spaghetti

Set a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add about two tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the bacon until it’s almost done to your liking and add in the garlic and chili flakes. Continue stirring as it cooks. When the garlic just starts getting a bit of colour, turn off the heat.

In a separate frying pan, heat enough olive oil to fry an egg or two. Fry the eggs one or two at a time, taking care to keep the yolk fluid – so sunny side up or over easy are both good. Add them to the bacon pan when done and continue with the rest of the eggs. Salt and pepper the mixture.

Bacon and Eggs

Salt the now boiling water and get your spaghetti cooking. When it’s done, add it to the pan with the bacon and eggs, along with the parsley. Stir the whole lot together, breaking the fried eggs up in the process, allowing the yolks to coat the spaghetti strands. Add a little of the pasta cooking water to help with the stirring and some extra virgin olive oil for extra flavour. Serve.