Summer Penne Tricolore

A summer pasta should be simple and fresh, ideally made with vegetables straight from the garden or farmers market. Look for Parmigiano-Reggiano chees: top-quality ingredients make all the difference here. We get ours from Costco and it’s good value for money. Here julienne (Matchstick) cut, sautéed until tender, bolstered with garlic, Kalamata olives, and mingled with basil, lemon zest and whole-grain pasta to make a delightful summery pasta. If you’ve got a garden full of zucchini, use twice as much and simple omit the summer squash. Then you can call the dish “PENNE DUECOLORE.

Whole-grain pasta offerings on supermarket shelves have expanded with gusto. Unlike the gluey, good-for-you-but-not-your-tastebuds pastas of yesterday year, the best whole-grain brands are firm-textured and tasty. The warm, nutty flavor of varieties like these is robust enough to stand up to intense, complicated sauces, yet satisfying with simple ingredients as our Summer Tricolore. ⠀

Serves 4


  • ¾ pound wholewheat penne rigate (traditional pasta can be substituted)
  • 1 summer squash, seeded and cut into 2 inch julienne (matchstick) cuts
  • 1 zucchini squash, seeded and cut into 2 inch julienne (matchstick) cuts
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch julienne (matchstick) cuts
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • ½ cup of Kalamata olives, pitted
  • ½ cup of fresh basil, chiffonade (see video)
  • ⅓ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, choose a good fruity oil if possible
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons of freshly squeezed, lemon juice
  • Sea salt or Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt, you want the water to taste like the ocean. It may seem like a lot of salt but remember you will be throwing the water away. Cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water
  2. In a sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add zucchini, summer squash and garlic. Season with salt & pepper and sauté until the vegetable are tender but still firm.
  3. Add to the vegetable the pasta, olives, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, 6 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and remaining extra virgin olive oil, and toss. If the pasta seems dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Check for seasoning and served immediately with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Enjoy this a glass of Soave, Gavi, Frascati, Orvieto or a crisp Chardonnay.⠀ BUON APPETITO! 


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