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Melissa Hemsley’s ‘Salsa Verde Style’ 12-Minute Courgette, Wild Garlic and Rocket Pasta

Melissa Hemsley's quick and easy salsa verde style pasta is brimming with summery flavours and can easily be made vegan-friendly with a couple of simple swaps.

From the book

Melissa Hemsley


As the title suggests, this all happens in 12 minutes so it’s ideal for hot summer nights when you are too lazy to commit to much but want more than a salad. I adore salsa verde flavours (salty anchovies and olives, briny capers, garlic and herbs), so they’re all mixed up here with gently cooked colourful courgettes. Rocket is just as delicious lightly cooked and tossed through pasta as it is raw and this recipe is dedicated to all those people I spoke to when I was researching this book that said they often ended up with half a bag of rotting rocket in their fridge.

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4 large courgettes (about 700g), yellow and green if you can
1 handful of pine nuts, pumpkin seeds or any nuts or seeds
2 anchovy fillets or extra capers
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh chilli, seeds too if you like, finely chopped, or chilli flakes, to taste
1 tbsp butter or oil (if not using anchovies)
400g pasta, any type
1 big handful of fresh basil or mint or a mix, leaves roughly chopped and stems finely chopped (leaves only for the mint)
2 handfuls of a mix of wild garlic, rocket, baby spinach or any leaves that need using up, chopped
2 tbsp capers, chopped if large
1 handful of olives, pitted, chopped
juice and zest of ½ lemon
sea salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, to serve
4 handfuls of finely grated Parmesan or pecorino, crumbled feta or torn-up mozzarella, to serve


Roughly grate the courgettes using the stalk end of the courgettes as a handle.

In a wide, deep-sided frying pan, toast the pine nuts for a minute until golden, keeping an eye on them, then set them aside and put the pan back on the heat.

Fry the anchovies over a low heat in a little of the anchovy oil and break them up with a wooden spoon, then add the garlic and chilli to sizzle for a minute. If you’re not using anchovies, add the butter or oil to gently fry the garlic and chilli until softened for a minute.

Add the grated courgette and a big pinch of salt and pepper, turn up the heat to medium and fry for about 5 minutes until softened but still retaining their colour.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta for about 8 minutes, or according to the label instructions, in a big pan of salted boiling water. Drain and reserve 1/4 mug of pasta water.

While everything is cooking, chop the herbs, wild garlic, capers and olives, then add to the courgettes along with the lemon juice and zest. Season to taste and take off the heat until the pasta is ready.

Add the cooked pasta and a little of the pasta water to the courgettes and toss together. Add a little more liquid if it needs it. Serve straight away with a drizzle of olive oil, the grated cheese and toasted pine nuts.


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From the book: Eat Green

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