Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons (zucchini noodles) and fried capers This summer pasta recipe is a winner!
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!
Food & wine pairing: Chardonnay with zucchini ribbon pappardelle
A 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
active time: 45 min with store-bought pasta (1 hr 30 min with homemade)
For the pasta
- 5 young zucchini (about 8″ long) (1 3/4 lbs) (800 g)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes to taste
- 3 oz (85 g) fresh basil – stems discarded and large leaves torn in half (2 1/2 cups loosely packed)
- 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
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (to boil the pasta)
- 8 oz (225 g) store-bought pappardelle or fresh pappardelle with chickpea flour (fettuccine or tagliatelle are good substitutes)
- 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
For the garnishes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.