Tommaso’s Penne With Zucchini

It was tough to choose which cookbook I should start with, but I ended up picking Molly O’Neil’s New York Cookbook. Heavily creased and overflowing with post-it note bookmarks, I had a good vibe about this publication.

I was a little strapped for time today, as I worked till five – and Peter (my husband) had to leave for a rehearsal by 7:30, so I opted for a simple pasta dish.

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According to Nana, this dish was so delicious – so I couldn’t wait to try it! I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work, and then it was time to get cooking!

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(Sorry about the sticker on the tomato, I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before – but I was a little pressed for time!)

The first thing I did was to peel a clove of garlic, smash it, and then sauté it in some olive oil until golden.

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While the oil was infusing, I started boiling my pasts, minced my onion, julienned the zucchini, chopped the tomatoes, and prepped the prosciutto. Everything was coming along nicely, and the aroma in the kitchen was intoxicating.

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Once the sauce was complete and the pasta was boiled, I tossed them together and topped with cheese.

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All in all, this was a really great dish; delicious, just like Nana said. A flavorful sauce that came together in a matter of minutes using fresh produce, and with a hefty serving of vegetables. The red pepper flakes added a subtle zing and the prosciutto gave it a nice dimension of flavor (though next time I think i will add a bit more than what the recipe called for). The only other addition I would make is adding some minced garlic into the equation (the recipe has you discarding the smashed clove)

Peter gave this recipe a solid B+, and agreed that this can definitely be a repeat item in our household (providing I add more garlic!)

If you’re looking to try this at home, here’s the original recipe as published:

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced thinly sliced prosciutto
3 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into julienne
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 pound penne
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf parsley)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

1. Warm the garlic in the oil in a nonreactive large sauté pan over medium heat until the garlic is golden, 5 minutes. Remove and discard. Add the onion and pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft, 7 minutes. Add the prosciutto and zucchini, partly cover the pan, and cook until barely soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to very low.
2. Boil the penne in plenty of well salted water until tender; drain.
3. Meanwhile, add the butter, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper to the sauce and stir well.
4. Place the sauce in a large pasta bowl. Add the penne and toss. Add the pecorino cheese and additional salt-and-pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 4.

If you made this recipe, leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

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