Greek Slow-cooked Courgettes

It’s taken me years to learn to love courgettes and now I can’t get enough of them. Mostly, I cook them quickly, usually fried or griddled to retain their juiciness and subtle flavour. This, though, is a favourite recipe when courgettes are glutting. It’s a Greek way of dealing with courgette gluts, cooking them, chopped, in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper over a very low heat until they turn into a dark green slop. That might not sound very appetising but it is an apt description for this ambrosia, which is both rich and creamy with a gentle garlic back taste. It is good hot or cold piled over sourdough bruschetta or stirred through pasta. The first time I made it I expected to be adding feta or Parmesan, or a soft-boiled egg. It needs nothing. This is food of the Gods, simple, cheap and foolproof. It freezes perfectly. You will eat far more than you expect and immediately plan to make it again

Serves 4
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 90 min

800g, approx, medium or large courgettes
4 large garlic cloves
4 tbsp fruity olive oil

to serve with:
4-8 thick slices sourdough bread
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp fruity olive oil or
400g large macaroni or other short, chunky pasta

Rinse, trim and chop the courgettes in similar-sized pieces; large ones quartered lengthways, reassembled and chopped, medium ones halved lengthways and chopped. Crack the garlic with your fist or something heavy, flake away the skin, chop and sprinkle with a little salt. Use the flat of a knife to crush to a paste. Heat the olive oil in a spacious, lidded pan over a low heat. Stir in the garlic, stir frying briefly before adding the courgettes, stirring to coat with the garlicky oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover and cook, giving the occasional stir, for 90 minutes or until the olive oil separates from the courgettes and they are very soft and sloppy. They will be considerably reduced. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Toast the bread, rub one side with peeled garlic, splash with a little olive oil and serve piled with hot, warm or cold courgettes. If serving with pasta, cook the pasta al dente, toss with 1 tbsp olive oil then with the courgettes.