Creamy Zucchini Penne

I am always looking for easy to make pasta dishes, that can be assembled at the last minute... for the days where my "obsessive-planning" fails me. (Yes! It happens.) This Penne with Zucchini and Cream recipe does not disappoint. It is a very easy and quick pasta recipe and takes 30 minutes total! 10 minutes for preparation… and less than 20 for cooking! :) You can substitute the penne with any type of small shaped pasta that can hold a little bit of the sauce like conchiglie, farfalle or fusilli…

I used to make a “heavier” version of this dish, it included yellow squash and zucchini, 3 different types of cheese and a considerable amount of cream… This version is lighter, and easier… you can always reduce the amount of cream to your taste…
The scallions add a little bite to the dish and the lemon zest gives it a bright accent.

The recipe calls for lemon zest. What you need is the small pockets of lemon essence that are in its peel. In my opinion, the best way to zest a lemon is to hold it in one hand, hold a microplane grater in the other and lightly pass the grater on the lemon,… it will extract a very smooth, light and fine zest… that will almost dissolve when cooked… and you won’t end up with the thick zest, that might be overpowering and bitter.


Creamy Zucchini Penne

Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Serves 4

1 lb (454 g) Penne (or small shaped pasta)
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb 5 oz (600g) zucchini, roughly grated
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
1,5 oz (40 g) Parmesan, finely grated
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
Black Pepper

Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need a large pot, a small bowl and a sauté pan (or a frying pan).

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and stir slowly for two minutes until fragrant. Add the roughly grated zucchini and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. The zucchini will cook down and lose some moisture.

In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest, parsley, scallions and Parmesan. Set aside.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the sauté pan. Gently mix the penne with the cooked zucchini. Add the cream and mix again until combined. Season with black pepper and a little bit of salt. Keep in mind that the cheese mixture is going to be salty… you can always add later if you need to.

Sprinkle the pasta with the Parmesan and herb mixture. Serve immediately.


Recipe adapted from Déjeuner Express. Marabout Chef

Pictures and text updates on April 1st, 2017.