I teased you guys with this Simple Summer Tuscan Pasta dish aka Zucchini Tomato Pasta a couple weeks ago when I was in Italy. We had some fresh orecchiette pasta on hand, fresh veggies in this fridge, heaps of fresh basil and this Tuscan Pasta came to be. Meals that come together using fresh ingredients on a whim always win my over.
Can I just say, the fresh vegetables in Italy are the best?
Maybe it’s some sort of vacation nostalgia but I swear the fresh tomatoes and zucchini in Italy do not compare to the tomatoes and zucchini found in the grocery store here.
The tomatoes are S-O incredibly red, juicy and plump you could honestly bite in them like an apple. And the zucchinis naturally have a delicious buttery flavor that truly enrich ANY dish you add them to. Too bad I didn’t have time to whip up a batch of my zucchini bread while I was traveling. I can just imagine how soft and buttery my zucchini bread would have turned out using the fresh Italian zucchini, YUM!
So guys, when making this Zucchini and Tomato Pasta make sure to use the plumpest and ripest tomatoes you can find as well as the freshest zucchini you can get your hands on. Using Summer fresh veggies really make ALL the difference in this Tuscan Pasta dish. This Zucchini-Tomato Pasta is topped off with some fresh lemon juice and MORE fresh basil just in case it was not summer-y enough already. 😉
- 500 grams orecchiette* or any small pasta (17.6 oz)
- ½ cup vegetable broth (to saute vegetables)
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 small white onions, diced
- 5 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ cup green olives
- ½ cup fresh basil, lightly packed
- 2 tbsp starchy pasta water
- 2-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Vegan Parmesan
- Fresh Basil
- Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box in a large pot. Cook until al dente (when the pasta is still a bit hard - it will continue cooking when you saute the pasta noodles with the vegetables). Before draining, reserve ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water for the Basil Olive Tapenade.
- Over medium-high heat, in a large pan, saute the diced garlic and onion with a couple splashes of vegetable broth for a couple of minutes until the vegetable broth is evaporated and the onions are lightly cooked.
- Add the chopped roma tomatoes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini. Saute for 3 - 4 minutes until the zucchini is lightly cooked. Add the cherry tomatoes. Saute for 2 minutes. Some of the water from the tomatoes will naturally evaporate- this is okay.
- While the vegetables are sauteing, make the Basil Olive Tapenade. Blend together the green olives, fresh basil and 2 tablespoons of the starchy pasta water. I used an immersion stick blender. If you are using a regular blender you might need to add a couple extra tablespoons of starchy pasta water for the olives and basil to blend.
- Toss the pasta with the zucchini-tomato vegetable mixture and the Basil Olive Tapenade. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh lemon juice (beginning with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, to taste) and vegan parmesan (optional). Enjoy!
If you do make this Zucchini-Tomato Pasta in your home, I love seeing your delicious shots and hearing your feedback! Let me know how your creations turn out by sharing your feedback in the comments below, tagging me (@cearaskitchen) in your gorgeous shots on Instagram or sharing your photo on my Ceara’s Kitchen Facebook page. Wishing you a wonderful day!