Never mind, because 'the mandoline' really is the perfect tool for the job in the case of tonight's recipe. Take the courgettes and use the fine julienne blade to cut them into the thinnest matchstick strands imaginable. And if my distracted and oft-cackhanded self can manage this, so can anyone!. The heat of the pasta water will soften them as the pasta drains through the colander, no problem. If you don't have a mandolin, don't worry - you don't have to buy one! However, please don't try to knife-cut these incredibly thin strands of courgette; it'll send you potty, I should imagine. Just coarsely grate the courgettes instead; the texture will be a little different but the recipe will still work and taste good.
Courgette & Salami Pasta
150g short pasta (such as penne or fusilli)
150g salami, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 courgettes (prepared as above)
handful mixed fresh parsley & basil, torn up
handful freshly grated parmesan
First, put some water on to boil for the pasta. Now, 'frizzle' the salami. Put the strips into a dry frying pan and heat gently until the oil starts to run. Turn the heat up and cook, stirring, until the edges of the salami start to 'catch' and curl then remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain it on kitchen paper. Add the chopped garlic to the oily juices in the pan, stir well, then remove it from the heat Tip the pasta into the now boiling water and cook until tender. Put the prepared courgettes into a colander in the sink and then, reserving a small cupful of pasta water, drain the pasta into the same colander (i.e. emptying the pan contents over the top of the shredded courgettes). Return the contents of the colander to the pan and put over a low heat. Pour in the garlicky salami oil and toss well to coat the pasta-and-courgette mixture, then stir the salami pieces through, along with the torn herbs, adding a splash of the reserved pasta water if it seems at all stodgy. Tip into a warmed serving dish and scatter with the parmesan.