This courgette, lemon & chilli pasta is perfect for warm summer days. When it’s hot, I’m torn between wanting to eat all-out fresh summer salads and craving pasta every single night. Luckily, this pasta is the perfect compromise. Summery courgette cooked down with lots of garlic and zesty, fresh lemon tossed through pasta and topped with lots of herby golden breadcrumbs… it’s a week night dinner you’re gonna want to try ASAP. AND it only has 5 ingredients — bonus!
When is courgette in season?
Courgettes are at their best through the summer months, around June until October. This Courgette, Chilli and Lemon Pasta heroes the courgette so will taste best during the summer but will work all year round. Courgettes are available almost all year round in supermarkets so you should be able to give it a go any time! If you can get your hands on yellow courgette in the summer, it has a slightly sweeter flavour and would be delicious in this dish (or used together with green courgette).
What are the 5 main ingredients?
• Chilli flakes/red pepper flakes
(plus bread and parsley for the optional breadcrumbs)
Can you skip the breadcrumbs?
The herby breadcrumbs (or “pangrattato”) add an extra level of flavour and a lovely bit of crunch but the dish is equally as tasty without so feel free to give them a miss if you prefer.
Can you use any kind of pasta?
I find that long, thin pasta works best with this dish as the courgette holds onto the strands really nicely. I use spaghetti but linguine or even fettuccine would work well.
What is “pasta water” and why is it in the recipe?
Pasta water is quite simply the water that the pasta has been cooked in. It’s super important and helps to bring the dish together by making the courgette into more of a “sauce”. When you drain the pasta, make sure to save 200ml of water from the pot to add in with the courgette. The water should be cloudy, starchy and slightly salted. To make it easier to save the pasta water, try using tongs or a slotted spoon to move the cooked pasta to the pan with the courgette instead of draining with a colander.
What kind of chilli should I use?
Chilli flakes add a subtle kick to the dish but can be skipped or subbed for black pepper if you’re not a fan of spice. if you’re looking for chilli flakes in the supermarket, they’re sometimes called crushed chilli or red pepper flakes. For a less intense, fruitier heat, Aleppo chilli flakes work well.
Can I make this gluten-free?
Of course! With a couple of easy swaps, this recipe can be gluten-free. Gluten free spaghetti can be used and works just as well — I’ve cooked it a couple of times with gluten free pasta. You can either give the herby breadcrumbs a miss or simply use gluten free bread.
More courgette recipes
If you have an abundance of courgettes or you’re just looking for more delicious ways to use courgette, check out these recipes:
Like the sound of this recipe?
If you’re a pasta lover or really enjoyed this recipe, why not try some of my other popular pasta dishes?
Courgette, Lemon & Chilli Pasta
- 150 g spaghetti or pasta of choice
- 400 g courgette
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
For the herby breadcrumbs/pangrattato
- 1 slice of bread
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Put the pasta on to boil in salted water as per the packet instructions.
- Chop the top off the courgette and grate the rest. Put the grated courgette in a sieve over the sink or a bowl and squeeze out the excess liquid. Sit the sieve over a bowl to let any remaining liquid come out.
- Finely chop the garlic and add to a large pan with a splash of olive oil. Fry gently for a couple of minutes. Add the grated courgette, season well and stir over a low heat for around 10 minutes until soft and reduced in volume.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 200ml of pasta water and add both to the pan with the courgette. Toss together to mix. Add the lemon zest and chilli flakes and mix again.
- Grate or blend the bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Add to a small pan with the olive oil, parsley and salt. Fry over a medium heat until crisp and golden.
- Serve the pasta, top with breadcrumbs and extra parsley and chilli flakes if you fancy. Enjoy!