Pasta with courgette sauce and spinach balls

Antonio Carluccio reveals the secrets of one of Carluccio's Caffès most popular dishes
By Antonio Carluccio
Pasta with courgette sauce and spinach balls
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the spinach balls

  • 500 g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp very finely puréed garlic
  • 100 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • olive oil, for shallow-frying

For the pasta

  • 400 g rigatoni pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, trimmed and finely grated
  • 60 g parmesan, grated


1. For the spinach balls: blanch the spinach in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes or so, then drain and cool slightly. Squeeze out as much water as you can, using your hands or pressing it in a sieve, then chop the leaves finely.

2. Put the spinach in a medium bowl and stir in the beaten eggs, a pinch of salt, some pepper, the nutmeg, garlic, breadcrumbs and parmesan. Mix well until you achieve a binding consistency. If the mixture is too wet, add an extra tablespoon of breadcrumbs.

3. Pour enough olive oil into a frying pan to cover the base generously, and heat gently. Roll the mixture into little balls the size of walnuts. Shallow-fry the spinach balls in the hot oil until golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a very low oven.

4. For the pasta: in a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. When ready, drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.

5. Meanwhile, fry the garlic and chilli in the oil for about 1 minutes (don't let the garlic brown), then add the courgettes and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the courgettes have started to soften. Add the parmesan, season to taste and mix well.

6. Toss the sauce thoroughly with the drained pasta and reserved cooking water. Serve hot with the warmed spinach balls on top.

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