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Curtis Stone's Orecchiette with Grilled Zucchini and Tomato

Curtis Stone makes vegetarian summer pastas with zucchini
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

Perfect for a light meatless supper, this delicious dish is and easy and healthy vegetarian summer pasta dish.

Curtis's Make-Ahead Tips: The pasta sauce can be made up to 1 hour ahead of cooking the pasta. Rewarm the sauce over medium heat before adding it to the cooked pasta.

Chef's Note: Calabrian chile paste is made from oil-packed Italian chiles; it gives the dish an inimitable fieriness. Seek out the paste at online specialty stores, Italian markets, and even some cheese stores. If necessary, substitute with 1 red jalapeño chile, finely chopped.


Pickled Fresno Chiles (Makes 3 cups)
  • 2 cups Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound red Fresno chiles, rinsed
Orecchiette with Grilled Zucchini, Blossoms and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 small zucchini (not baby) with blossoms, blossoms separated, zucchini halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 Pickled Fresno Chiles (recipe above), julienned
  • 2 teaspoons Calabrian hot chile paste or 1 red jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups (about 1 pound) assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained, passed through food mill (about 3/4 cup pulp) or 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating


For the Pickled Fresno Chiles (Makes 3 cups):


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring vinegar, honey, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chiles and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl to cool to room temperature.


Transfer chiles and liquid to tall containers and refrigerate.

For the Orecchiette with Grilled Zucchini, Blossoms and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes:


Preheat a charcoal grill for high heat. Lightly coat zucchini and blossoms with 2 teaspoon oil and grill, turning as needed, for about 3 minutes, or until zucchini and blossoms are slightly charred. Cut zucchini and blossoms into bite-size pieces.


Heat a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add pickled chiles, chile paste and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, or until garlic softens. Add wine and cook for about 2 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Add cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini, blossoms, and San Marzano tomato pulp and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cherry tomatoes soften.


Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water for about 9 minutes, or until pasta is almost cooked through, but still a bit chalky in the center.


Using a slotted skimmer, remove pasta from water and add it to warm sauce in sauté pan. Cook, tossing frequently, over medium heat for about 1 minute, or until pasta is cooked through and sauce is clinging to pasta. If necessary, use pasta water to loosen sauce. Stir basil into pasta and season with salt and pepper.


Transfer pasta to bowls. Using a fine rasp grater, grate some cheese over each bowl. Serve immediately.