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Penne with Zucchini, Fresh Herbs, and Lemon Zest


Serves four. (serving size, 2-1/4 cups)

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 99

This go-to summer meal is simple, fresh, and full of flavor. It takes advantage of the bounty of zucchini and leaves it to the herbs to deliver the freshness of the season right to the plate—no cream or butter required.

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. whole wheat penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini (8 oz. each), cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half moons
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook according to package instructions until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender and just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and fragrant, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the zucchini mixture along with the Parmigiano, mint, basil, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, adding some of the reserved water if necessary to moisten the pasta, and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Perfect alongside Marinated Tomatoes with Pickled Red Onions & Gorgonzola.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 440, Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 2.5, Protein (g): 15, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 67, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 450, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 8,

Photo: Scott Phillips

So simple and so delicious! And with the fresh herbs it smells absolutely amazing! I'll definitely make again in future, maybe with more zucchini and less pasta to make it a bit lighter. I used about half the oil, that was definitely enough.

Loved this! Made it as a plain quick weeknight dinner to use up some zucchini and was not expecting much. It surprised me and I will definitely make it again.

This is delicious! and easy to prepare. I served it as a main course, and we both had seconds! Definitely a keeper.

Delicious! I made this as a side dish for grilled chicken. I agree this can become a one-dish meal with the addition of chicken or shrimp, and maybe other vegetables such as peas.

loved this dish

Excellent as is or, as another reviewer commented, a good base for any kind of toss-in. My non-vegetable eating adult family ate the pan clean.

A good and quick recipe to make on a weeknight. My son, who is not normally a zucchini fan enjoyed this too. Will be making again.

This was super! The taste was crisp and fresh. However, I did make a few changes. I added some diced cooked chicken, about 1/4 cup sliced scallions, and about 1/2 cup frozen peas. I think I would have liked some mushrooms too. I also think you could change any veggie with the herbs and garlic and it would taste great! I will definitely be making this again!

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