Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes (2024)

I associate courgettes with summer holidays in Greece, where the pale-skinned, pear-shaped variety are sold by the roadside and served in every taverna. Luckily, there are as many ways to cook courgettes as there are courgettes in Greece, and each has a different effect: maximise courgettes’ freshness by serving them raw, marinated, pickled or grilled; or roast or slow-cook for a creamier result. This spanakopita-like filo pie, in which I swap the usual spinach for courgette, is a nod to happy summers in the Mediterranean sun.

Courgette and herb filo pie (pictured above)

I’ve added cheddar to what is otherwise a straightforward Greek pie, because I find it ties everything together nicely, but feel free to use another cheese, if you prefer.

Prep 12 min
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4

1kg courgettes (about 6), trimmed and grated
Salt and black pepper
20g dill
, roughly chopped
20g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
4-6 spring onions, thinly sliced (60g)
2 eggs, beaten
150g feta, roughly crumbled
80g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp lemon zest
, finely grated
40ml olive oil
175g filo pastry
(ie, 7 39cm x 30cm sheets)
½ tsp nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas 3. Mix the grated courgettes and two teaspoons of salt in a large bowl, then tip into a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes.

Wrap the courgettes in batches in a clean tea towel and wring tightly, to extract as much liquid as possible – you should end up with about 520g courgette flesh. Transfer to a large bowl and add the herbs, onions, eggs, both cheeses, chilli, lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.

Line the base of a 23cm spring-form cake tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the sides with oil. Lay a sheet of filo over the base, allowing the excess to hang over the sides of the tin, and brush with oil. Top with another piece of filo, rotating it slightly so the excess hangs at a different angle, brush with oil, then repeat three more times, until you have used up five sheets in all. Put the courgette filling in the centre of the pie and even it out with a spoon. Brush another piece of filo with oil, fold it in half horizontally and lay it over the filling, tucking in any excess around the filling. Brush with oil, then repeat with the last sheet of filo, angling it to cover any exposed filling. Fold over the overhanging filo, crinkling it up to leave a crumpled top, brush with more oil and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Transfer the tin to an oven tray and bake for 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove the outer ring of the tin, and bake for 15 minutes more, until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Herby courgettes and peas with semolina porridge

Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes (1)

This is a standalone vegetarian main course that I return to time and again. The semolina porridge is like runny polenta, only a little creamier. You can substitute it with rice or mashed potato, if you like.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4-6

50g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1.2kg large courgettes (ie, about 6-7), trimmed, cut in half lengthways, then thinly sliced widthways
Salt and black pepper
200g frozen peas, defrosted
25g basil leaves, roughly shredded
15g tarragon leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp olive oil, to serve

For the semolina porridge
600g whole milk
180g semolina
100g pecorino, finely shaved

Put the butter in a large saute pan for which you have a lid, and put it on a medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and fry for a minute or two, until it starts to brown.

Add the courgettes, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for five minutes, stirring often, until the courgettes start to soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and leave to cook for five minutes. Stir in the peas and warm through for a minute, until the peas are cooked, then take off the heat, stir in the herbs and lemon zest, and set aside while you make the porridge.

Put the milk and 600ml water in a medium saucepan, and add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, then add the semolina and whisk continuously for three to four minutes, until smooth and thick, like porridge. Turn off the heat and stir in 80g of the pecorino.

Divide the porridge between shallow bowls and top with the courgettes and peas. Finish with the pine nuts, a sprinkling of the remaining pecorino and a drizzle of oil.

Courgette, thyme and walnut salad

Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes (2)

This needs to be dished up the moment its made, before the courgettes start ‘weeping’ and losing their freshness, so don’t let it sit around for too long. It goes well with meat from the grill or alongside a bunch of meze.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
10g thyme sprigs
1 lemon – peel finely shaved into 6 strips (avoid the bitter white pith), then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
1 garlic clove, smashed with the flat side of a knife
600g courgettes (a mix of green and yellow looks great, if you can find both), trimmed and shaved into long, thin ribbons with a potato peeler or mandoline
60g walnut halves, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
15g basil, roughly shredded

Put the oil, thyme, lemon peel and garlic in a small saucepan on a low heat and leave to infuse for eight minutes, until the oil becomes aromatic and the garlic, lemon and thyme start to colour. Take off the heat, leave to cool, then strain the oil into a large bowl. Pick the leaves off the sprigs and add to the oil; discard the sprigs, lemon and garlic.

Put the courgettes, walnuts, lemon juice, a third of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper into the oil, then massage the courgettes for a minute or so – they will break up a little – then stir in the basil and serve at once.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes (2024)
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