Quick Pasta with Zucchini

After all the decadent restaurant meals, it is time for something very simple. This plate of pasta takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. The list of ingredients is very short: pasta, zucchini, parmigiano, salt, pepper, olive oil. The secret to this dish is the generous use of parmigiano reggiano cheese (pecorino would also work) and freshly ground black pepper, as well as using the pasta cooking water to make a ‘sauce’. It is a bit like a healthy version of pasta with cacio & pepe, given the addition of the zucchini. You could also think of it as a simple version of this dish. You could make this dish with any pasta shape, but for a nice texture I like to match the size of what’s in the pasta (in this case diced zucchini) with the pasta (in this cased orecchiette).


For 1 serving

75 grams (1/6 lb) orecchiette or other pasta

1 zucchini

50 grams (5 Tbsp) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Bring a bot of water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, dice the zucchini into 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice. When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. Set the time to cook it al dente according to package instructions. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the diced zucchini.

Stir-fry the zucchini over medium-high heat until it is golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat if the pasta is not ready yet. Season lightly with salt.

Grate the cheese.

Reserve a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta once it’s al dente, and add it to the zucchini. Turn the heat back on.

Add most of the cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water.

Toss to mix. Don’t forget to add several twists of freshly ground black pepper.

Serve at once on a warm plate.


Octopus is yummy when its flavorful and tender, and a good way to cook it that way is sous-vide and sliced thinly as carpaccio. All it needs is a bit of lemon juice and parsley.


13 thoughts on “Quick Pasta with Zucchini

  1. This is my go-to dish when I am in a hurry or people drop by unexpected – the only difference is that I add some red pepper flakes. By the way, it was fun to read your Italian eating adventures!


    1. I was in a hurry too when I made this, as I was very hungry when I came home late from work.
      Great to hear you liked to read about our eating adventures — it was also fun to eat our way through half of Italy like that 😉


  2. I just realized i had been missing your posts…again you had dropped off my follow list, not sure if it’s something I’m doing, or WP. Looks like there is an eating holiday in Italy for me to catch up on…


  3. The zucchini has such lovely, golden color. Seriously, they are in season right now, and there are few things better! Yum! The veg with an al dente pasta, fruity olive oil and a fantastic cheese… how can you go wrong?! Leave it to Chef stefan to go on the Pasta Cleanse Diet (copyright pending) after a great vacation of yummy meals. 🙂


  4. Easy, fast and delicious! Having been in love with the vegetable most of my life surely do use it to flavour pasta also 🙂 ! [Laughing] . . . and the octopussy pieces are even more delightful 🙂 ! Oh, welcome home from the delightful Italian food adventures; it looked as if you had a simply wonderful time!


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