Is it just us or does everyone suddenly have a skip in their step? And is that…the sun? These can only mean one thing — it’s officially summer aka zucchini season. While you can usually find zucchini year-round, the commencement of summer means you’ll be able to enjoy this warm weather vegetable at peak flavor with a lower price point.
Let’s make one thing clear — this is not a recipe for zucchini noodles (aka zoodles). It’s a tried-and-true pasta dish loaded with roasted zucchini and a zucchini-basil pesto. Each bite is brimming with bright summer flavor. It’s vegetarian-friendly and comes together in under one hour, so you can serve this any night of the week. In this preparation, zucchini is diced. Half of the zucchini is roasted, while the remaining half is cooked on the stovetop and blended to create a creamy veggie-packed sauce. The pasta is tossed in the sauce and topped with Parmesan, roasted zucchini, pistachios and basil for a hearty yet healthy weeknight dinner!
If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.
Special Kitchen Equipment Required: You’ll need a blender or food processor to whip up the sauce.
Technique Tip: To save time, dice the zucchini into smaller pieces so that they roast faster.
Swap Option: Use yellow squash in place of zucchini and Pecorino in place of Parmesan cheese.
- 1 pound paccheri or rigatoni
- 2 pounds zucchini (about 4 large zucchini), diced into ¼-inch-thick pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 7 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 to 7 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- 1/2 cup shelled, roasted and salted pistachios, chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 F and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heavily salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and reserve 2½ cups of pasta water for later.2.
Toss half of the chopped zucchini with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the zucchini is golden brown and crisp.3.
In a separate large skillet over medium-high heat combine remaining ¼ cup olive oil, zucchini, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini starts to soften and lightly caramelize, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid and deglaze with white wine, cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.4.
Transfer the mixture into a blender, along with crushed red pepper flakes, basil leaves, the zest of 1 lemon and ½ cup reserved pasta water and blend until smooth. Pour back into the large skillet, add the pasta, and toss to coat. Add pasta water, ½ cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Finish with lemon juice. Add more pasta water as needed to thicken the sauce. Season to taste.5.
Divide into serving bowls, top with roasted zucchini, parmesan, chopped pistachios, basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.