For Zoe. Whole, small courgettes in tomato sauce cooked in the oven – this is how I made it. Served with yogurt and paprika butter and long grain rice.
2 small courgettes p/p (and if you have them, their flowers, cleaned and roughly chopped)
1 tin of tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Long grain rice, c. 60g p/p
thick natural yogurt, around 5 tablespoons
a thick slice of butter, around 2 tablespoons worth
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
a few fennel fronds or dill (optional)
How to make
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Trim the end of each courgette and rub them in olive oil and salt, and then fry them whole for five minutes in a small heavy frying pan to give a little depth of flavour. Then put the frying pan in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the courgettes from the pan to start cooking the sauce in the same pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the frying pan and add the garlic. When the garlic is aromatic add a tin of tomatoes and half a tin of water, and mash down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the courgettes to the sauce (and their flowers if you have them) and a circle of baking paper or tinfoil to cover. Put in the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the covering and leave until the sauce has reduced a little, for a further 15 minutes or so, turning the courgettes around in the sauce a couple of times. When the tomato sauce is to your satisfaction and the courgettes are cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes. Check the taste and season with salt and some black pepper.
While the tomato sauce is reducing, cook the rice. Rinse rice in cold running water in a sieve, then drain well. Put the rice in a lidded saucepan add water so that when you rest the tip of your finger on top of the rice, the water comes up to your first knuckle. Add half a teaspoon of salt to the rice (for 2 ppl). Put the lid on firmly and cook on a low-medium heat until all the water is absorbed. Then leave the rice to rest for 5 minutes with a knob of butter on it.
When the rice and the courgettes are resting, make the yogurt. Put the yogurt in a small dish, then melt the butter in a pan, when frothing, add the paprika and shake the pan so the butter goes bright red. Then pour the butter over the yogurt. Season the yogurt with salt and add a couple of fennel/dill fronds.
Place the rice, the courgettes and the yogurt on the table and eat.