With tender chunks of zucchini in a spicy Arrabbiata sauce, this easy delicious pasta is the perfect one-pot meal for a busy weeknight dinner. Instead of boiling the pasta and making the sauce separately, they’re cooked together saving time, energy, and water.
First, some zucchini, onions and garlic are sauteed to bring out their flavors and sweetness. Then a can of tomatoes, water, penne and the seasonings go in and get cooked together until the pasta is cooked through. That’s all there is to it! Because the penne cooks in the sauce, the pasta is literally filled with the sauce, and the starch from the pasta gives the sauce the perfect pasta coating consistency.
Anchovies are a great way to add some umami to a pasta sauce, which is why I normally add them to my Arrabbiata, but to make this vegan-friendly, I’ve substituted soy sauce, which makes for a good substitute. That’s because soy sauce contains loads of umami boosting amino acids which work in tandem with the glutamates in the tomatoes to stimulate the umami receptors on your tongue.
While this makes for a delectably light pasta on its own, if you’re not vegan, crumbling some gorgonzola on top adds both richness and depth to this penne turning it into a vegetarian dish that even a meat-lover will enjoy.
One Pot Tomato Zucchini Penne
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- .5 ounces garlic (about 2 large cloves, minced)
- 5 ounces onion (about 1/2 onion, diced)
- 8 ounces zucchini (about 2 small zucchini, cubed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes (tomatoes and liquid roughly smashed)
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 8.5 ounces penne
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
- Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, zucchini and salt to a large pan and saute until the garlic and onions start to brown.
- Add the water, stewed tomatoes, chili flakes, soy sauce and penne and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10-12 more minutes or until the penne is cooked to your liking.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley.
Yield: Makes 3-4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.