Penne with Zucchini-Parmesan Sauce

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups pasta and 1 tablespoon cheese)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Recipe Time

Total: 45 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 420
  • Fat: 17.2g
  • Saturated fat: 6.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 6.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.6g
  • Protein: 13.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 52.9g
  • Fiber: 3.4g
  • Cholesterol: 29.2mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Sodium: 575mg
  • Calcium: 173mg


  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices small zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion (about 1 large)
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender and golden. Remove from pan; cool.
  2. 2. Place 1/4 cup cooked zucchini, basil, 1/4 cup cheese, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. (Keep mixture in processor.)
  3. 3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until golden. Return remaining cooked zucchini to pan. Remove from heat.
  4. 4. Combine 6 quarts water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to vegetables.
  5. 5. With processor on, add reserved liquid to basil mixture; process until smooth. Add basil mixture to pasta. Add cream, remaining salt, and pepper; stir. Top with remaining cheese.
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