Tender, charred summer squash generously seasoned with cracked black pepper, grated parmesan cheese and lemon zest… Cacio e Pepe Zucchini is the standout side dish you’ll want to make all summer long!
Zucchini aka summer squash or courgette, is such a versatile, delicious vegetable that goes perfectly with so many main dishes!
To make Cacio e Pepe Zucchini all you need to do is cut the zucchini lengthwise then cook them cut side down, in a hot pan with a little butter and olive oil. Let them cook for 5-7 minutes until they blister and charr. While they’re cooking season them with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. When they’re ready take them out of the pan, transfer them to a platter and sprinkle generously with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, lemon zest and (optional) crushed red chili flakes. *Ina Garten voice* How easy is that?
You can make this recipe with any kind of summer squash or zucchini. It makes a great quick side dish that pairs well with everything from Crispy Cast Iron Chicken Thighs to Turkey Bolognese.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Saute the Zucchini
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise when cook, cut side down, in butter and oil.
Step 2. Season & Serve
Season with zucchini with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper then transfer to a platter and top with grated cheese and lemon zest!
FAQs and Expert Tips
The Italian phrase cacio e pepe translates to cheese and pepper in English. Cacio e pepe is a Roman pasta dish made with cooked pasta, starchy pasta water, parmesan, and pecorino cheese, butter, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Check Out More Delicious Dishes:
- Warm Grilled Vegetable Salad with White Beans and Feta
- Corn and Arugula Salad with Tomatoes and Blue Cheese
- Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing
- Grilled Corn with Togarashi-Lime Mayo
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Cacio e Pepe Zucchini
- 4 zucchini ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ c grated parmesan cheese
- zest from one lemon
- ½ tsp chili flakes optional
- Preheat a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter to the pan. As soon as the butter is melted and the oil shimmers, add in the zucchini, cut side down.
- Cook the zucchini on the cut side, undisturbed until it begins to blister and brown, about 5-6 minutes then flip them over to the skin side and turn the pan's heat down to medium-low.
- Season the zucchini lightly with salt and 1 tbsp of cracked black pepper. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 3-4 minutes. During this time the pepper will toast and infuse the oil and butter with lots of flavor!
- Transfer the zucchini to a large plate or platter. Pour any residual oil and black pepper from the pan over the zucchini. Sprinkle evenly with grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest and chili flakes (optional). Serve warm.
- Zucchini: You can use any green zucchini or yellow squash. Even little patty pan squash will work. Adjust the cooking times as needed to account for squash that is extra large or super tiny.
- Butter: If you don’t cook with butter you can use all olive oil or substitute a plant-based butter.
- Cheese: Parm, Pecorino or Grana Padano will all work just fine in this recipe.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat in a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes.
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