Penne with Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomatoes


The unbelievable truth about Italian cooking is that your life can be forever altered with just 20 minutes and a few simple ingredients. This dish, which I’ve adapted from the traditional spaghetti alla Nerano, is a perfect case in point! First created by Chef Maria Grazia, who served her signature zucchini pasta in the idyllic village of Nerano on the Amalfi Coast, this version stays close to the original, with zucchini, a rather flavorless vegetable on its own, caramelized until the flavor intensifies to what can only be described as transformative. Excerpted from Everyday Delicious copyright © 2024 by Rocco DiSpirito. Used by permission of Rodale Books an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

a recipe photo of the Penne with Zucchini

Courtesy Photo

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into half-moons

  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 cup bottled tomato puree (passata)

  • 1 pound penne pasta

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of water with salt to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, set a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and garlic and toast until the garlic is golden brown. Add the zucchini and sauté until it’s lightly browned.

  3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the penne.

  4. Add the penne to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions.

  5. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan of sauce. Add the cold butter and Parmesan and stir until emulsified.

  6. Serve garnished with basil and Parmesan., April 2024

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

398 Calories
16g Fat
53g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size generous 1 cup
Calories 398
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 12g 23%
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Vitamin A 108µg
Vitamin C 16mg 18%
Vitamin D 0µg
Vitamin E 2mg 15%
Folate 165µg
Vitamin K 17µg
Sodium 336mg 15%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 4mg 20%
Magnesium 70mg 17%
Potassium 718mg 15%
Zinc 2mg 14%
Vitamin B12 0µg
Omega 3 0g

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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