Penne with Zucchini, Basil and Garlic Olive Oil

by Allison @ Alli 'n Son on August 6, 2012

Happy  Monday! Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day! Happy August!

I’m not sure that I’m happy about it being August, but what are you going to do.

So, I have to admit, this months’ Secret Recipe Club assignment was a bit of a challenge. Not for a lack of recipes. But for a lack of time and lack of specific ingredients.

You see, I’ve pretty much all but given up on cooking meals from scratch for my family. I just can’t keep up with it. Our evenings are too full, too frantic and my nerves too frazzled to keep up with it all. So I’ve completely simplified our meals. Not to the point of eating only frozen meals…but there are weeks when that sounds pretty tempting.

Recipe Taster, Savor the Unexpected has recipe upon recipe that sound brilliant, exotic and just a little out of the ordinary. Food like Chocolate Rum Quinoa, Ricotta Mousse Tower with Tomato Jam and Chocolate Ganache, and Healthy Sicilian Spring Rolls really peaked my interest, but had me in a little bit of a panic.

I just didn’t think I’d have the time, energy or ingredients to make any of these recipes.

I didn’t want to fail at Secret Recipe Club. I couldn’t fail. I just knew there had to be a recipe that had the Recipe Taster‘s signature, but was simple enough to fit into my lifestyle.

There it was, staring me in the face. A recipe who’s beauty and flavor comes from it’s simplicity. Just a few ingredients, penne, garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs and zucchini. That’s all that it took to make this flavorful, quick and beautiful meal.

Penne With Zucchini Recipe

Penne With Zucchini Recipe

I decided to modify the recipe just a little, to simplify it even more and to make clean up a little easier. I’ll do just about anything to use less dishes. I cooked the zucchini with the olive oil and garlic, rather than pan frying it first. I used fresh basil from my super tiny, mini garden instead of oregano. I added a giant handful of Parmesan cheese, because pasta isn’t complete without cheese. Obviously. For the finishing touch I added a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, just for a little heat.

Penne With Zucchini Recipe

Beautiful, don’t you think?

Penne with Zucchini, Basil and Garlic Olive Oil

Penne with Zucchini, Basil and Garlic Olive Oil

A quick weeknight pasta meal featuring fresh zucchini, basil and garlic.


  • 13.25 ounces penne
  • 3 small to medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 fresh basil, chopped into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook penne according to package directions.
  2. While the penne cooks, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped garlic, heating until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini, salt, pepper and red pepper. Saute for 7-10 minutes, or until the zucchini is crisp tender.
  4. Add the hot, drained pasta to the olive oil, stirring to coat. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  5. Season with salt and pepper or drizzle with additional olive oil, if needed.


Inspired by Recipe Taster.


Did you know that you can save my recipes in your very own recipe box, courtesy of ZipList? Just click on the link above, under "recipes" to get started. Want to learn more? Hop on over to read about this awesome new feature.

This post is proudly linked up to Mondays: Mouthwatering Mondays, Made By You Monday, Mingle Monday Tuesdays: It's a Blog Party, Tip Junkie, Get Your Craft On, Lil' Luna Wednesdays: Works for Me Wednesday Thursdays: It's a Keeper Thursdays, Strut Your Stuff, Full Plate Thursdays, Chic & Crafty Party, Transformation Thursday, Sweet Treats Thursday Fridays: I'm Loving It, Foodie Friday, Simply Designing, Show and Tell Friday Saturdays: Sweets for a SaturdayPositively Splendid, Saturday Nite Special Sundays: Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Sundae Scoop Party, The Sunday Showcase Party

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1 MissMessy August 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

Wow looks amazing :) so fresh!

2 Lisa~~ August 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

I feel you on quick and easy summer dinners, cooking with all the summer activities is crazy and hot too. Great looking pasta and SRC choice.

If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my SRC entry: Chicken Satay Noodle Salad.

Cook Lisa Cook

3 astrid August 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

one of my favorites: pasta and zucchini!

4 Kitchen Belleicious August 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

sauteed zucchini with oil and a touch of garlic is my favorite way to eat it! This pasta looks amazing and fresh and easy! The best 3 things ever!

5 Lesa @Edesia's Notebook August 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

You are right, oftentimes simplest really is best. That dish looks amazing. Great pics!

6 Alessio August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Pasta and Zucchini is indeed one of my fav dishes too! When you got time, try to fry them… they come out oh so nice and sweet 😀
Glad you appreciated my recipe, very nice rendition of it :)

7 Heather August 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm

This looks AMAZINGLY delicious!!!!!!!!

8 Ali August 15, 2012 at 8:06 am

It is beautiful :) I love zucchini, so this is a great addition to my ‘to-make’ list :)

I wanted to take a moment to invite you to submit this and any other yummy recipes to my link party, Recipe Sharing Monday. Hope to see you there!

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