Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons (zucchini noodles) and fried capers This summer pasta recipe is a winner!

Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons, tomatoes and fried capers

How to make zucchini ribbons (or noodles)? Check out the video for the perfect technique!

The ultimate summer pasta! Here, young zucchini are shaved in ribbons that are the same size as the pappardelle. They don’t just add a lovely crunch to the dish; they make it so much lighter as well. The sauce is made with flash-sautéed tomatoes and pan-fried basil, which in turn bring depth and loads of flavor. Finally, the pasta is garnished with fresh goat cheese, fried capers (irresistibly salty!) and a beautiful lemon-infused oil.

Store-bought pasta offers ultimate convenience… or make your own pappardelle for a truly unforgettable meal

Of course, if you want this dish to be truly special, make your own pappardelle using this homemade chickpea flour dough. But the recipe works just fine with store-bought pappardelle too.

Every forkful of this pasta is light, yet richly flavored… a fiesta for the taste buds!

Zucchini ribbons

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Food & wine pairing: Chardonnay with zucchini ribbon pappardelle

White wine iconA Sangiovese is always the first wine that comes to mind anytime cooked tomatoes are involved. But here, the zucchini, goat cheese and fried capers call for a full-bodied, luscious white wine! Pour a Chardonnay – one from a warmer region like Mâconnais or California – or a Côtes du Rhône Blanc. These wines pair well with the rich flavors of this pasta without overwhelming the delicate goat cheese and the more subtle flavor of the zucchini ribbons.

Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons, tomatoes and fried capers

serves 4
active time: 45 min with store-bought pasta (1 hr 30 min with homemade)

For the pasta

  1. 5 young zucchini (about 8″ long) (1 3/4 lbs) (800 g)
  2. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 4 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
  4. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes to taste
  5. 3 oz (85 g) fresh basil – stems discarded and large leaves torn in half (2 1/2 cups loosely packed)
  6. 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) ripe beefsteak tomatoes or other meaty tomatoes – peeled, seeded (seeds strained and juices reserved, about 1/3 cup) and cut in 1″ pieces
  7. 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 1 tablespoon sea salt (to boil the pasta)
  9. 8 oz (225 g) store-bought pappardelle or fresh pappardelle with chickpea flour (fettuccine or tagliatelle are good substitutes)
  10. 1/3 cup reserved pasta water

For the garnishes

  1. 6 oz (170 g) fresh goat cheese – crumbled
  2. 1 recipe fried capers
  3. lemon-infused olive oil (a fruity extra virgin olive oil is a good substitute)

  1. Step 1: Cut both ends of the zucchini and, using a vegetable hand-peeler, slice them lengthwise into ribbons. (See video for exact technique.) Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use, for up to 12 hours.
  2. Step 2: Heat a wide heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, pepper flakes and basil and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the basil wilts and darkens slightly. Add the reserved juices and tomato pieces, stir well and sauté for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften, stirring only from time to time. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir well and remove pan from heat. Let the sauce stand in the pan while boiling the pasta.
  3. Step 3: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and pasta. Boil pasta until al dente (for fresh pasta it’ll only take 1 to 2 minutes) and drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the water.
  4. Step 4: Return the tomatoes to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. As soon as the tomatoes sizzle, add the pasta, reserved pasta water, zucchini ribbons and balance of salt. Toss quickly and turn off the heat. Divide the pasta into individual bowls or transfer into a large serving bowl. Garnish with the goat cheese and fried capers, drizzle with the lemon-infused oil and serve immediately.

Viviane’s tip
  1. Here’s my favorite lemon-infused oil: O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. Sweet, aromatic and subtle – it won’t overwhelm all the delicious flavors in this dish.

Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons, tomatoes and fried capers

pasta, pappardelle, zucchini

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  • Reply Bonnie August 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    The flavors in this dish are extraordinary. The combination of textures and tastes are addictive and I was glad I’d only made the two necessary portions as I would have gone for seconds. This is a new staple in my dinner choices. I’ve never understood buying the large jars of capers, but I do now. Yum.

    I used artisian pappardelle. I haven’t, but will, try your chickpea fettuccini.

    Your recipies have been delicious and I’ve barely scratched the surface. It takes great talent, a lot of work and tenacity to create innovative, balanced recipes along with giving all the necessary tools to replecate them. Your attention to detail and flavor profiles are a gift. I could always ‘cook’ quite well, but this is a higher, more refined level.

    This recipe is a wow! Highly recommended.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Bonnie, I CANNOT thank you enough for your comment and kind words! You, my dear, are a gem… and a gift to me! A most heartfelt thank you. I am overjoyed you liked this pasta. I create new recipes on a weekly basis, but not all of them end up as delicious as this one. So it makes me really, really happy to know you loved it. Thank you again… and , as always, happy cooking!

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking August 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I’ve got lots of zucchini right now and this pasta is a wonderful way to enjoy all this summer goodness while it lasts. I adore the simplicity of the recipe, with wonderful flavor!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you, Deb! I so appreciate your kind words!

  • Reply Liz August 2, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Love the mix of pasta ribbons with zucchini ribbons! And I’m going to have to try fried capers—they look amazing!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 2, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Thank you, Liz! I have a feeling you’ll fall in love with those fried capers…

  • Reply Madonna July 31, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    What a lovely complex, but simple dish. Thanks so much for all the good food you have helped me make.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      You are most welcome, Madonna! Thank you so, so much for your note.

  • Reply mjskit August 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    WOW Viviane! What a beautiful pasta! I’ve never fried capers before so I know that’s something I need to try. A friend gave me jar of lemon infused olive oil that she brought back from Italy, so I know I’ll be making this! Thanks Viviane!

  • Reply Kathy July 28, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Your dish looks absolutely mouthwatering! A perfect way to use up some of that zucchini in your garden! Lovely!

    • Reply Viviane July 29, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Hi Kathy! Thank you so much… believe it or not, I lost my zucchini plants to powdery mildew this year – so sad! So I’ve been getting them at my farmers’ market.

  • Reply Evelyne@cheapethniceatz July 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Great pasta dish. I have done zucchini ribbons as the pasta before but love the idea here to mix it with the pappardelle.

    • Reply Viviane July 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you, Evelyne! I love how the zucchini ribbons make this pasta so light… Perfect for the dogs days of summer!

  • Reply Angie (@angiesrecipess) July 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    A homey and very delicious everyday pasta. Thanks for sharing, Viviane.

    • Reply Viviane July 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thank you, Angie! Have a great weekend, my dear…

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