Years ago, I remember a conversation with Joanna Blythman about the benefits of choosing organic when buying vegetables. Apart from there being no residual chemicals and pesticides on the product, the slower growth cycle produces firmer, tastier produce with less water and more nutritious natural sugars that have had a chance to develop.

It’s particularly noticeable in fast-growing vegetables such as courgettes. In my experience, not only do they not have the bitter taste on the skin which is often off putting, organic courgettes are markedly firmer and less watery. This makes them grill much crisper and when sautéed they stay firm and textured rather than disintegrating into unappetising mush. They definitely taste better.

I agree they are more expensive but I’d argue they will do you more good.

Always remember to wash vegetables well, even if they appear clean and scrubbed. Harmful bacteria can lurk on the surface, even on organic produce. When we were young we always rinsed salad leaves and cleaned vegetables in salted water. A natural disinfectant. I still do.

This pasta is delicious …and not at all fattening. Honest.



3-4 courgettes, organic if possible

30g butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

300g pasta, tagliatelle or penne

200g gorgonzola

2-3 tablespoons’ freshly grated parmesan

1 tablespoon double cream

2-3 tablespoons pasta cooking water

Fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts


Put a large pot of water on to boil ready to cook the pasta.Wash and dry the courgettes, trimming off the ends. Use a course grater to shave them into long strips or slice them and cut them into ribbons.

Melt the butter in a shallow frying pan, add the shallots and sauté until translucent.

Add the courgettes, turning them in the butter to allow to cook for 5 minutes or so.

Add the gorgonzola and melt everything together.

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta.

When the pasta is almost cooked add 3-4 tablespoons of the water to the courgette sauce to loosen it.

Add the double cream and check seasoning.

Take the sauce off the heat so the cream won’t curdle, add the drained pasta and toss everything together.

Add a little more cooking water if the sauce is dry.

Dress with plenty of fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and some grated parmigiano.

If you want to prepare a vegan version of this dish, sauté extra virgin olive oil with a clove of chopped garlic and a dried chilli. Add the grated courgettes and cook before adding the cooked pasta, finely chopped flat leaf parsley and fresh basil. Sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.