Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Use your favorite noodles here, long or short. I used bucatini here, but also love stubby shapes with grippy ridges.


  • 8 ounces dried pasta
  • 3-4 medium zucchini (2 lbs), washed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (fluffy, not packed)
  • 1 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • black pepper
  • toasted almond slices


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water well, and boil pasta per package instructions. Drain, reserving some pasta water, and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove most of the seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, a minute or so. Stir in the chopped zucchini and 1 1/3 cups water, cover, and simmer until the zucchini absorbs most of the water and softens, roughly 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and carefully, with a fork or (even better) a potato masher, smash the zucchini until creamy.
  3. Transfer the zucchini to a large serving bowl. Add most of the cheese and most of the basil, and lots of pepper. Stir in the pasta, and a splash of the pasta water if you want to thin it out at all. Taste, and add salt if needed. Finish by topping with lots of toasted almonds, and the remaining cheese and basil.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves 4


Serves 4.