Zucchini Fusilli with Basil Butter

August 22, 2011

I came across the recipe in my new Bon Appetit cookbook a couple weeks ago and I almost passed it over since it originally called for ground lamb, which is something I never have on hand (and which honestly doesn’t really appeal to me). But something made me take a second look, and I realized it would be really easy to modify into a vegetarian pasta dish simply by increasing the amount of onions and zucchini to make up for the lack of meat. The whole recipe from start to finish only takes about a half hour (as long a you start heating the pasta water while the onions and zucchini are cooking), so this is perfect for a light weeknight supper.

Cooking the zucchini over high heat until the moisture evaporates brings out its mild flavor and keeps the dish from becoming soggy. The butter and fresh basil added at the end ramps up the overall flavor as well, and fortunately we have plentiful basil in our garden this year! While I didn’t have any fusilli pasta on hand, the recipe worked fine with the cavatappi that I had in my pantry instead. The whole dish turned out fabulous and I have since made it two more times in the past couple weeks! It reheats well in the microwave so I have been enjoying leftovers at lunchtime. If you are overrun with zucchini and are looking for more ways to use it, I highly recommend trying this pasta dish!

Fusilli with zucchini

Serves 6


  • 1/4  cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2  cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 2  onions, chopped
  • 3  large shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2  pounds zucchini, trimmed and coarsely grated
  • 1/3  cup dry white wine
  • 1  pound fusilli or other corkscrew pasta
  • 3/4  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in basil and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and shallots; sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add zucchini and sauté until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add wine; reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta is a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to same pot. Add zucchini mixture and basil butter to pasta; toss to coat. Season to taste to with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan.

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