Karen Martini's pennette with zucchini flowers, anchovy, mint, chilli and bottarga

The umami-rich bottarga and anchovies provide neat foils to the freshness of the green chilli and zucchini flowers.
The umami-rich bottarga and anchovies provide neat foils to the freshness of the green chilli and zucchini flowers. Photo: William Meppem

This elegant and flavoursome pasta comes together very quickly, so have everything ready and make the sauce as the pasta cooks, timing its readiness so you can transfer the pennette straight from the pot into the pan. It's always better this way, with the pasta taking up the sauce readily and those starchy traces of cooking water subtly thickening and glossing the sauce.

Ingredients

6 zucchini flowers with baby zucchini attached (female flowers)

350g pennette (or other short pasta)

80ml extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

4 anchovies

1 green chilli, sliced

2½ tbsp white wine

2 tbsp pouring cream

4 mint sprigs, leaves picked, large ones torn

½ lemon

20g bottarga

Method

1. Detach the zucchini flowers and tear in half. Slice the baby zucchinis in fine rounds.

2. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, well-salted water.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep frying-pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until just coloured and fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the anchovies and stir to dissolve, then add the chilli and sliced zucchini. Cook to soften, about 2 minutes, then add the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cream and swirl to combine.

4. When al dente, lift the pasta from the water into the pan using a slotted spoon, strainer or the like. Toss to combine, then add the zucchini flowers and mint. Keep tossing until the sauce becomes glossy and clings to the pasta. Correct the seasoning to taste.

5. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a fine grating of bottarga once plated.

Everything you need to know about bottarga

This recipe was oiginally published in Good Weekend magazine