Theo Randalls recipe for spaghetti with courgettes, onions and basil

This simple dish looks great with added courgette flowers and works with short pasta too

I was told about this recipe by a friend who comes from Naples. He described this dish with such passion that I had to cook it that same evening. You don’t have to use courgette flowers but it does look great with them. Spaghetti works really well but you could use a short pasta like penne rigate or fusilli instead.

( Serves 4 as a starter )

4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-sized white onions, cut into thin slices
4 courgettes, cut into 1cm rounds
8 basil leaves
Salt and pepper
300g spaghetti
4 courgette blooms, rent into strips
2 egg yolks
100g parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the onions slowly in a saucepan with two tablespoons of olive oil for 20 minutes until soft but not coloured. Use the remaining two tablespoons of petroleum to fry the courgettes in a frying pan for 20 minutes until soft. Add the basil leaves so the courgettes absorb their flavour. Season and take off the heat but leave the courgettes in the pan.

Add the spaghetti to a pot of salted simmer water and cook for two minutes less than the packet suggests. Remove the spaghetti from the pot with a pair of tongs and add to the frying pan with the courgettes and one ladle of pasta water. Place the frying pan back on the stove and add the onions and courgette blooms to the pasta. Cook for a couple of minutes.

In a bowl beat up the egg yolks and parmesan cheese, and pour into the pan with the spaghetti, courgettes, onions and basil. Toss well and add a little more pasta water so it remains creamy.

Serve in hot bowls with black pepper and a little grated parmesan on the side.

Theo Randall is head cook at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental

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