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Penne with Crisp Prosciutto, Zucchini and Corn

Maren Caruso

Servings: 4

Sautéing the prosciutto in a skillet crisps and intensifies its texture and flavor so it becomes like a refined version of bacon. Instead of overpowering the dish, the prosciutto complements the sweetness of the corn, brightness of the mint, and delicate flavor of the zucchini.

This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.


  • Kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto (about 4 oz.), cut into strips
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 small zucchini (about 3/4 lb.), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ears corn, shucked and kernels sliced off (about 1 cup), or 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put 2 Tbs. oil and the prosciutto in a large (12-inch) skillet, place over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the prosciutto browns in places and becomes crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the prosciutto to a large plate lined with paper towels.
  • Add 1 Tbs. oil and the onion to the skillet, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens completely and turns light brown, about 6 minutes; add 1 or 2 Tbs. water to the skillet if the onion starts to stick or burn. Add the zucchini and corn, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the zucchini becomes tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the Pecorino-Romano and all the mint.
  • Add the penne to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta, the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the vinegar, and 1 tsp. black pepper to the skillet with the zucchini and corn mixture. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute so the pasta mixes with the vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and stir. Serve sprinkled with the crisp prosciutto and the remaining Pecorino-Romano.

For the real zucchini lovers at the table, serve the pasta with a colorful Zucchini Ribbon Salad.


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Reviews (16 reviews)

  • Mahiwema | 07/11/2018

    I've made this dish over and over again, always to rave reviews. Sometimes I up the corn and zucchini quantities, sometimes I make it as written. We never get tired of it. I've never been much of a mint fan in savory dishes, but it's just the touch this dish needs.

  • Krispie | 06/23/2018

    I didn’t have prosciutto on hand (a shocker because I always have prosciutto) so I had to improvise and used applewood smoked bacon instead. I used the Italian seasonings as suggested by other reviewers and also added a little heavy cream in addition to the pasta water at the end. This was a really solid dish that I will definately make again. It wasn’t a bang of flavor - more subtle but very delicious.

  • gdlohr | 08/14/2014

    Fantastic. Substituted two boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced, that I smoked over oak on my stovetop smoker for prosciutto. Mint was superb, but a little oregano might have been magic, too.

  • Miss_B | 07/18/2014

    We enjoyed this very much and will make again. Used Italian spices instead of the mint, which I didn't have, but will try with mint next time. Thanks.

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