Mezze Penne Niçoise
- ½ box mezze penne (small penne rigate, recommended: Barilla)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced into half moons
- ½ small to medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme
- ½ teaspoon of chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Pecorino Romano to taste
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until it is al dente.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low heat, and add the shallots and zucchini and garlic and thyme and chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to soften for 5 minutes while the pasta cooks.
- To the vegetables, add the tomato paste, and sauté for one minute, incorporating it into the veggies. Add the fresh mint, and a few spoonfuls of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta, and toss everything together. Top with extra coarsely cracked black pepper and some grated Pecorino cheese, and maybe a few chopped black olives from Nice.
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