Penne with Pine Nuts and Zucchini

This is based off of a recipe from my father, who adapted it from a Mario Batali recipe.

    • 1/2# penne pasta (you can use use the white VitaSpelt if you want to lower carbs – but why?)
    • 4 Tbs olive oil
    • 1/3 c pine nuts
    • 2 garlic cloves “sliced like dimes”
    • 4 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise then sliced in 3/8″ slices crosswise
    • 1 pinch coarse sea salt
    • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
    • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup of grated parmigiana reggiano


    1. Bring water for pasta to a boil.
    2. Heat pan, olive oil, add pine nuts and cook until just starting to get golden. Once the pan gets really warm, that’s when they turn golden. I have ruined many a batch of pine nuts from not watching them closely.
    3. Add pasta to boiling water.
    4. Add garlic, zucchini, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to pine nuts and cook a 2-4 minutes until garlic isn’t so pungent and there is a light brown on the zucchini.
    5. Turn off heat the pine nuts, take out 1/3 of the mixture, and puree. You can use a food processor, or, as we do, an immersion blender. Then stir back in.
    6. When the pasta has about 3 minutes to go, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan, reheat, and cook away the water, or the consistency that you want.
    7. Add grated parm’ to the pan
    8. Add the drained pasta and toss. (Toss into the pan, not onto the floor. Boy was that a mistake the first time.)
    9. Adjust parm, salt and pepper.


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