I really love pasta, how can you not do? And this carb-laden pile of it has so many things going for it, it's untrue. For one, it is super-simple to make and you can knock it up in about 20 minutes flat and half blind-folded (believe me, it's the honest truth!).
Also, I do think, it tastes so good and can be presented so nicely that it is of dinner-party calibre. Especially if served with some extra touches like an arugula salad and roasted vine tomatoes, with a beautiful dessert to finish.
And at the same time, the simple ingredients of this meal, which do not mean shopping at twenty different stores to make it, means that you can have it for a week-day dinner or whenever.
What I have been lacking, as I only realised recently, was no, not the prawns (this wasn't the taste I wanted), but the lemon combined with the oil. In a bid to keep the dish low-fat (oh yawn!), I had managed to do it an injustice on the previous occasions of trying to conjure it up myself.
So one thing I will say - if you plan to make this, keep the oil quantities as they are, otherwise you just won't get the same flavours and you may as well make any old lemon-zucchini pasta.
Though most of my recipes are not jam-packed with fat unnecessarily, I am not a believer in the low-fat diet as being the 'best' one, as anyone who has read some of the older posts on this site knows. Low-fat being good for health is a myth. No, you're not supposed to drink a gallon of the stuff every day, but don't fear the fat. As long as you eat according to satiation and not greed, you should be fine.
Just another plus point in the favour of this dish too - it's actually a good one for those who say they don't like courgette. Because the courgette/zucchini is grated, you can barely tell it exists in the dish itself and it just blends in with the finely chopped onion. So you don't have to panic if you've invited a guest over, and they tell you last minute they hate this vegetable!
Anyhow - this recipe is definitely one of my personal favourites. Though it's not elaborate, it just tastes so darn good for the amount of minimal effort required! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
NB. If you don't have any dry Fino sherry, a very dry wine would work okay too.
Lemon Zucchini Linguine with Tarragon & Asparagus
Serves 2-3 heartily or 4 as a smaller course
250g egg-free linguine
1 medium courgette / zucchini, grated
1 small onion, very finely chopped (like rice grains)
5-6 stems of asparagus per person, to be steamed or roasted
1 large lemon, zest and juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup / 60ml water
2 tablespoons dry Fino sherry (such as Tio Pepe, which is vegan)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the linguine and cook as directed. If you are roasting your asparagus, it takes about 10 minutes in the oven so do that now on about 180 C/350 F.
2. While the pasta in boiling, in a large heavy-based frying pan, heat half the olive oil and sauté the onion on a low-medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Add the grated courgette (zucchini) and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes, then add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
3. Add the lemon juice, grated lemon zest, sherry, and water to the pan. Stir and then add the stock powder, salt, black pepper, and tarragon. Allow to simmer on the same low-medium heat for about 5 minutes.
4. In the meantime, if the linguine is 'al dente' (cooked, but slightly firm rather than soft), remove from heat and drain. Set aside. I steam my asparagus now for 2 minutes in the microwave.
5. The courgette/zucchini and lemon mixture should now be ready – it doesn't require much cooking as the courgette is grated therefore easy to cook. Turn off the heat, and then stir in the extra virgin olive oil.
6. Empty the drained linguine into the frying pan with the lemon sauce, and use a wooden pasta fork and a wooden spoon to combine and mix well. Divide between plates and serve with the asparagus over the top and extra black pepper to taste.