Orecchiette, Zucchini, and Chanterelles

Orecchiette is a small ear-shaped pasta (hence the name) and the shape makes it perfect for sauces to cling to it. This version is a hybrid of the one we had at the Cilento restaurant and one that I made while I was in Rome. The sauce is very similar to the one used for the snap peas in tomato sauce, but it’s not pureed to give it some texture.


Makes 3 servings
Time to Make: 25 minutes


The Veggies

2 zucchini, diced
2 tablespoon of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup of chopped chanterelle mushrooms or oyster mushrooms

The Sauce

6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups of sweet cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon of salt

The Pasta

½ pound of orecchiette pasta
Salted water


Time Saving Tip: Start the water boiling for the pasta before you begin anything else and cook the zucchini and mushrooms in one pan while you cook the sauce in another. It’s an extra dirty dish, but it all comes together very quickly.

Saute the zucchini in the olive oil and salt until it is al dente. Add the mushrooms and cook these for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the contents from the pan and set them aside.

“Chanterelles can be expensive and aren’t always easy to find. You can use oyster mushrooms instead. Also, spinach makes a great addition to this dish.” 

In the same pan, saute the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and continue cooking this until the tomatoes are completely soft. Lightly mash them to get them to juice. Puree all the sauce ingredients, then return the sauce to the pan and keep the sauce warm over low heat.

“This ended up being one of my favorite sauces I made (and ate!) while I was in Italy. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong when you have such incredible produce and the tomatoes were exquisite.” 

Cook the pasta until it floats. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce, then add the zucchini and mushrooms. Toss one more time and serve.

“Any sort of small pasta will do in this recipe. I just happened to have whole wheat orecchiette on hand.”

Make It Low-fat

You can saute the zucchini and mushrooms in a dry pan just like you would in the standard recipe. Just omit the oil. For the sauce, start out by pureeing all the ingredients for the sauce before cooking them. Add the pureed sauce to the pan and simmer it over medium heat for about 5 minutes.


1 to 2 Saute Pans
Stirring Spoon
Cutting Board
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon