This is, hands down, the most delicious thing I have cooked in a long time. It is unapologetically simple, yet rich, sweet, flavoursome and garlic-y. It’s perfect for late summer when glorious courgettes are in abundance (at my local farmer’s market they are currently ten for a pound!) but in reality the weather is turning a little chillier. It has all the comfort of a risotto without the constant stirring, and the homeliness of a bowl of pasta, yet with the benefits of whole food ingredients. I will be making this again tomorrow, and the next!
The slow-cooked courgettes are inspired by Sky Gyngell’s book, Spring; I’ve chosen thyme in place of tarragon, and served them with pearled spelt, and plenty of grated parmesan.
As ever, I chose Sharpham Park’s organic spelt.
This recipe serves 2 people. (It seems like a lot of courgette for 2 people but it cooks down a lot and is so delicious you will eat more than you might expect!)
½ heaped cup pearled spelt, or 110g
2 cups water
1 teaspoon bouillon powder
pinch of sea salt
3-4 large courgettes (or 10-12 baby courgettes)
generous knob of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 plump cloves of garlic
plenty of fresh thyme
pinch of sea salt
In a medium saucepan dissolve the bouillon powder and a pinch of salt in 2 cups of water. Add the pearled spelt and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Don’t allow this to rapidly boil as this will cause the spelt to overcook on the outside before being cooked all the way through. Once at a gentle simmer, allow the spelt to cook for 22 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse the courgettes if needs be, and thinly slice – approximately 3mm. In another medium/large saucepan gently heat the butter and the olive oil, and then add the sliced courgette. Try not to let the courgette colour here; low and slow cooking is the idea. They will gently soften and sweeten, and become so beautifully juicy and delicious. Keep a lid half on/half off, preventing too much moisture from evapourating.
Peel and mince the garlic and add this to the cooking courgettes. Season with salt and pepper too. Strip plenty of fresh thyme from its stalks; more is more here, and I go for a almost a full tablespoon of thyme leaves. Add these to the courgettes and stir well.
With the lid mostly on, yet with a slight gap, allow the courgettes to cook for 22 minutes, stirring from time to time. With any luck the spelt and the courgettes will be ready at the same time.
Drain the spelt and allow the steam to billow off for a minute or two.
I like to stir a final knob of butter through the courgettes before serving.
Serve in warmed bowls with a generous grating of fresh parmesan over the top, lots of black pepper, and a few extra thyme leaves if you wish. Outrageously delicious comfort food, best eaten on the sofa.