Penne and Zucchini with Lime and Herbs

A blend of fresh herbs, nuts, Pecorino-Romano cheese and lime juice enlivens zucchini and pasta.


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta
  • 2 firm zucchini
  • About 3 tablespoons (EVOO)
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon or 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped and toasted


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.

While the pasta is working, halve the zucchini lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Thinly slice into 1/4-inch-by-2-inch strips – think fat matchsticks.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the chili pepper and garlic for a minute. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes.

Add the lime juice to the zucchini and stir in the butter to melt. Add the pasta, parsley, mint, tarragon (or basil), a handful of cheese and the reserved starchy cooking water. Toss for 1-2 minutes. Top with more cheese and the pistachios.

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