This pasta with zucchini and tomatoes is nothing short of amazingness, a 20 minute healthy summer dinner with any short pasta cooked al dente, zucchini, grape or cherry tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs. It keeps your kitchen cool and uses an abundance of produce in season (I always seem to have more than I need on hand). Bursting baby tomatoes create a delicious sauce base combined with fresh garlic and basil. I couldn’t stop eating this pasta!
I got the idea for pasta with zucchini and tomatoes from my zucchini bake. I kept pasta amount low just enough to make the dish filling. I swear this dish is so good, I could eat it all week long! You can also add chicken. If you are a fan of zucchini, check out my collection of 30 healthy zucchini recipes. And if you are into pasta (who isn’t?!), you will enjoy cooking quick penne with broccoli, whole wheat spaghetti recipe with chicken or this healthy pasta with pesto during hot summer months.
How to Cook Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes
I will share with you my multitasking method of cooking 20 minute dinners. I start by first chopping all veggies, then boiling water and cooking vegetables at same time. This way, by the time pasta is ready, zucchini and tomatoes are ready as well, and I add al dente pasta directly from the pot to the skillet without draining. I find once pasta is drained, it starts drying out and sticking together.
Whole wheat, brown rice or any other gluten free pasta doesn’t hold its shape as well as white semolina pasta, so watch it closely and do not overcook. Chewy al dente pasta is half of the success to a tasty pasta with zucchini and tomatoes.
All zucchini come in different sizes. Just chop it in universal bite size pieces. Cooking zucchini fast on medium-high heat keeps them firm.
Cherry or grape tomatoes are the best for this dish because they hold their shape better than full-grown tomatoes without making zucchini tomato pasta mushy. Cutting them in halves ensures the juices’ release making a base for the sauce.
I like my garlic coarsely chopped/minced vs. grated for this dish.
Basil or fresh parsley, whatever you have got more than you can handle of. July-August for me are basil months when it grows like crazy in m garden and I don’t like it frozen, only fresh.
Once sauce base with vegetables is ready, I add pasta directly from the pot to the skillet.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, no perorated boxed stuff.
And then I season it all at once with salt, pepper, herbs and Parmesan cheese. Somehow, in this dish only olive oil seems suitable to me; probably because it’s Mediterranean dish and extra virgin olive oil with deep sweeter flavour fits right in.
- 7 oz short whole wheat pasta like penne, fusilli or farfalle
- 2 lbs zucchini, chopped in bite size pieces
- 1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup parsley or 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta as per package instructions undercooking by 2-3 minutes or until pasta is al dente, cooked but firm.
- While pasta is cooking, preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return skillet to the stove and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat, add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring a few times.
- Turn off heat and add cooked pasta and zucchini, remaining 1 tbsp of oil, salt, pepper, cheese and parsley or basil; stir and serve. Adjust any seasonings to taste and enjoy this 20 minute amazingness!