Leo Gong
Total Time
40 Mins
Makes 6 servings

Cutting the zucchini into strips and cooking them until they're tender but still holding their shape allows them to twist and turn around the fusilli, clinging to the noodles like sauce. In addition, the pine nuts add richness to the plate, which—like all good pasta dishes—tastes greater than the sum of its parts. Prep and Cook Time: 40 minutes.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, trim and discard ends of zucchini. Cut each zucchini into 3- to 4-in. lengths; cut each length into 1/4- to 1/2-in.-thick matchsticks and set aside. Chop garlic and set aside. Cut basil leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

Step 2

In a large frying pan over medium heat, toast pine nuts, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. In the same pan, melt 1 tbsp. butter with 2 tsp. olive oil. Increase heat to high and add half of the zucchini and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook zucchini, stirring frequently, until soft and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer zucchini to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the butter and oil in the pan as possible. Repeat with remaining zucchini and 1/4 tsp. salt. Remove frying pan from heat and reserve.

Step 3

Add remaining 1 tbsp. salt and fusilli to boiling water and cook until pasta is tender to the bite, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Step 4

Meanwhile, heat reserved frying pan over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tsp. olive oil and the chopped garlic, and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add reserved zucchini and pine nuts. Cook, stirring, until well combined. Add zucchini mixture and reserved basil to cooked fusilli and toss to combine. Add 1/2 cup parmesan and remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Toss until butter melts and everything is well combined. Divide among 6 plates or pasta bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan and serve immediately.

Step 5

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ratings & Reviews

portland's Review

July 14, 2009
very nice, light, tasty, easy. I substituted olive oil for the butter, which I felt added to the fruitiness of the zucchini. good way to use some of that home harvested squash.

mmartell's Review

November 12, 2008
I've made this recipe several times and it has become a family favorite. It's good warm or cold(better warm) and makes quite a bit so is great to have over several days.

Jlyynn's Review

August 03, 2009

marge35's Review

May 22, 2014
Recipe is a keeper!

framingham's Review

June 09, 2009
With ingredients like this, how could you go wrong? I used all olive oil in place of the butter. I also reserved about a 1/3 cup of the cooking water to add back into the combined dish at the end to loosen it up a little. Add a few red pepper flakes for zip.

Shalkan's Review

August 17, 2010
Although this is an overall bland recipe, I liked it. It was better with lemon juice added.

MaMere's Review

August 20, 2009
Attempting to use up the pounds of zucchini from my garden, I tried this recipe. Since I can never follow any recipe without a tweak or two, I added another clove of garlic plus the juice & zest of a half of a lemon & about a quarter-teaspoon of cayenne - when I sauted the garlic. Fabulous! I think it would be good at room temperature too. My granddaughter is allergic to dairy, so I want to try leaving out the parmesan & adding either cubed soy cheese or sauted tofu. I think both would be good.

falljunelaker's Review

August 21, 2009
This was good. My husband really loved it. I didn't love it as much simply because it is fairly mild in flavor. The cheese made the recipe for me because it gave a nice tang to the dish. We'll probably try this again & maybe add a little something to take the flavor up a notch. A good recipe, though, & I hope my review doesn't scare anyone away from it. It just didn't blow me away.

lee1949's Review

June 03, 2009
This recipe was excellent, very flavorful combination. My family loved it. I can see this will be made often. Thank You for the recipe!

ddmstan's Review

June 20, 2011
excellent. did not use olive oil since i was out. sauteed zucchini in low fat butter, added in toasted sunflower seeds, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Mixed in both garden and plain penne and used a lot less extra sharp white cheddar cheese instead. YUM.