Spaghettini with Zucchini/Bottle gourd

  • One long Italian bottle gourd or a medium-size regular bottle gourd or two small dark green zucchini, as we know them
  • Handful of Spinach
  • Spaghetti 250 gms
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • water for cooking
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese to sprinkle
First wash the Spinach leaves with plain water and then chop them coarse. Peel the bottle gourd/zucchini. Chop it in bite-sized pieces. Take the leaves out of the salt-water solution and give them a quick rinse. Take lots of water in a large pan and bring it to boil. Then add the leaves as well as the chopped zucchini to it. Cook uncovered until the zucchini pieces are soft. Drain the cooked vegetables reserving the water in which they were cooked. Now place the tomatoes in a shallow dish and pour some boiling water over them. Let them rest like that for a couple of minutes, then take them out into a plate and peel them. The peel will come out easily. Roughly chop these tomatoes. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the garlic pieces. Once they turn a shade darker, add the peeled, chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook uncovered on high heat. Mash it with the back of a ladle while it is cooking. In the meanwhile, heat the water in which the veggies were cooked. Once it starts boiling, add the spaghettini and some salt. Cook it uncovered until al dente. Once cooked, drain much of the water from it, reserving some in the pan. The tomato sauce must be ready now with a smooth, homogenous consistency. Add it to the pan with the Spaghettini. Add the cooked veggies too. The dish should be rather soupy. Give it a stir and check the taste for salt. Ladle it into deep dishes/bowls. Sprinkle crushed pepper and grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese over it.

Serve hot with some olives and warm Ciabatta bread on the side.

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