This paccheri recipe (aka Paccheri con Sugo di Gamberi e Zucchine) was inspired by a handful of paccheri pasta dishes from one of our favorite restaurants in Venice, Italy (Antiche Carampane). Toothsome “slappy” tube-shaped paccheri gets paired with a simple seafood sauce as it’s often served here in the coastal regions of Italy.
Lightly fried garden fresh zucchini, tender pan-seared shrimp, garlic, EVOO, a little white wine, and a simple tomato sauce, make this a pasta you can enjoy all year long. Plus, you can use fresh or frozen shrimp to make this a budget-friendly seafood pasta recipe. Watch the short Paccheri Pasta video to see just how easy it is to make this recipe!
Overview: Making The Best Pasta Paccheri
- How to Pronounce Paccheri
- What is Paccheri Pasta?
- Best Sauce For Paccheri
- 3 Italian Paccheri Pastas (from one of our favorite restaurants in Venice)
- Paccheri vs. Rigatoni vs. Mezze Rigatoni vs. Mezze Maniche vs. Italian Maccheroni
- Overview of Ingredients: Paccheri Pasta With Shrimp & Zucchini
- Overview: How to Make Paccheri Pasta with Video
- Paccheri Pasta With Shrimp and Zucchini Step-by-Step Photos
- FAQ Paccheri: Everything You Need To Know To Make Really Good Paccheri Pasta
Paccheri Pasta Pronunciation
If you’re googling ‘paccheri pronounce’ you’re probably wondering how to say or pronounce paccheri. Paccheri is pronounced with a hard ‘c’ sound as in ‘pock-a-ree’ or ‘pockery’ like the word ‘crockery’. This unique pasta shape is easy to say and even more delicious to eat!
What Is Paccheri?
Paccheri di Gragnano (sometimes called schiaffoni pasta or Gragnano paccheri) is a large Neapolitan tube-shaped pasta from the Campania region of Italy. More specifically paccheri originates from Gragnano, Italy (hence the name). Paccheri is made from hard (durum) wheat semolina flour and comes in different formats: smooth paccheri (‘paccheri liscio’ or ‘paccheri lisci’ in Italian) or paccheri with ridges (‘paccheri rigati’ or ‘paccheri rigate’ or ‘paccheri millirighe’). And a single tube of paccheri is simply called ‘pacchero’.
The name (or paccheri meaning) is derived from the Neapolitan slang for the word ‘slap’ (schiaffoni). Some say it’s from the sound this wide flat pasta makes when it flaps around in the sauce. Others say it comes from the original pasta factory workers who would steal portions of the pasta and when caught by the factory owner, he’d give them a disapproving slap.
When cooked, paccheri becomes truly toothsome (or as my brother-in-law says, “meaty”) and somewhat flat, trapping sauce and ingredients inside its wide inner tube making for delicious bite after bite.
Best Sauces For Paccheri
Paccheri is versatile and pairs extremely well with everything from slow-cooked Bolognese sauce to lighter seafood sauces. It’s most often eaten with a seafood sauce along the coastal regions of Italy, but can just as easily hold up to a slow-cooked Neapolitan ragù (paccheri Bolognese is one of our favorite ways to eat it or paccheri amatriciana if you like a spicier sauce).
It’s also prepared ‘al forno’ style (baked) also known as ‘paccheri forno’ or stuffed paccheri. Baked paccheri are most often filled with a meat or cheese mixture and stand vertically (instead of lying down like manicotti or cannelloni) and topped with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese or even béchamel.
3 Paccheri Pasta Dishes From One Of Our Favorite Restaurants in Venice, Italy (below in photos)
Pasta Shape Comparison: Paccheri vs. Rigatoni vs. Mezze Rigatoni vs. Mezze Maniche vs. Maccheroni
Contrary to what you may read elsewhere, paccheri is not in the penne pasta family (not even close as you can see). Below are photos of some common Italian pasta shapes so you can get a better idea of how paccheri compares to each one.
Rigatoni vs. Paccheri: In its dry form, Paccheri looks more like a garden hose that’s been cut into 2-inch pieces while rigatoni is slightly longer and its tube is not quite as wide. When cooked, paccheri becomes sort of flat and wide whereas, rigatoni maintains its round shape and doesn’t flatten the way paccheri does.
Mezze Rigatoni vs. Paccheri: Mezze rigatoni is somewhat closer to paccheri only in its shorter length, but again, mezze rigatoni (‘half rigatoni’ in Italian) holds its round shape and doesn’t flatten like paccheri when cooked.
Mezze Maniche vs. Paccheri: Mezze Maniche pasta (also known as short sleeves pasta) and rigatoni have much more in common than paccheri and rigatoni.
Maccheroni vs. Paccheri: Italian maccheroni (aka macaroni) has a much narrower tube and is also longer than paccheri, therefore, you really can’t compare the two pasta shapes. Besides having a hollow tube shape, they really don’t share any other similarities.
Overview: Paccheri Pasta With Shrimp & Zucchini Ingredients
Here’s a basic overview of ingredients, but you can find the full recipe measurements below in the recipe card.
- Paccheri Pasta: I’ve used a smooth bronze-drawn De Cecco no. 125 Paccheri pasta for this recipe, but rigatoni or mezza rigatoni makes a great substitute.
- Fresh or Frozen Shrimp: I’ve used Italian shrimp (mazzancole or prawns from the Mediterranean Sea) but Argentinian Red Shrimp make a great substitute.
- Zucchini: Use I’ve used fresh garden zucchini, but any zucchini will work here (preferably smaller which usually means better flavor).
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I’ve used a full-bodied EVOO from Abruzzo, Italy but any good quality pure EVOO will work just fine here.
- Garlic: Because it makes almost everything better!
- Fresh Basil: Don’t be tempted to use dried basil for this recipe, splurge for the fresh stuff (or just grow your own), and use the leftovers to make pesto, or freeze the leaves to use on homemade pizza, or in pasta sauce as needed.
- Leftover pasta sauce: When I want to make this pasta, I typically save a little leftover pasta sauce from another dinner and use it here. But you can easily substitute the leftover pasta sauce with canned tomatoes or tomato passata if desired. If substituting the leftover tomato pasta sauce, you may need to add an extra tablespoon (15g) of EVOO.
- Dry White Wine: Adding wine to pasta sauce triggers the release of flavor molecules that enhance every ingredient in the sauce which isn’t possible if you don’t use it. Use a good quality drinkable (unoaked) dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Garganega, Pecorino, or Trebbiano.
- Fresh or Dried Whole Chili Pepper(s): I typically use 1 to 2 dried whole chili peppers for a slightly spicy kick. Feel free to omit it altogether, or add even more if you like it spicier.
- Salt: Use the salt of your choice: sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or kosher salt.
Overview: How to Make The Best Paccheri Pasta
Here’s an overview of how to make paccheri pasta with shrimp and zucchini, but you’ll find the full recipe instructions in the recipe card, or watch the how-to-make paccheri pasta video below!
- Cook the shrimp shells: *Skip this step if you’re short on time, but we enjoy the extra flavor it adds to this pasta sauce.
- Shallow fry the zucchini slices.
- Blister the aromatics in olive oil (garlic, basil & chili pepper).
- Sauté the shrimp.
- Boil the pasta.
- Finish the sauce and add the pasta.
Paccheri Pasta With Zucchini & Shrimp Step-by-Step Recipe Photos
*(Turn your volume off before hitting “Play” or music will play)
Best Sauce For Paccheri Pasta
Looking for more paccheri pasta recipes? As mentioned above, there are lots of pasta sauce recipes that hold up to this “meaty” pasta shape. Below are just a few of our favorites.
- Paccheri Bolognese
- Paccheri Ragù
- Paccheri Duck Ragù (Paccheri al Ragù d’Anatra)
- Paccheri Shrimp Scampi
- Paccheri all’Amatriciana
- Paccheri Tomato-Alfredo With Shrimp
Looking For More Easy Shrimp Pasta Recipes?
Here are a few of our favorites that are easy to make and way more affordable than ordering out.
- Easy Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta Recipe (w/Parmigiano Cream)
- Mediterranean Pigtail Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Vegetables
- Langoustine Shrimp Scampi w/Rigatoni Pasta (Mezze Maniche agli Scampi)
- 15-Minute Shrimp Pasta w/Garganelli (the Italian Way)
- Triple Shrimp Trighetto Pasta (Creamy Shrimp Pasta)
We’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you!
Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment below the recipe card to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all your questions and comments. Plus, I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag us @BitingAtTheBits on Instagram and I’ll repost your beautiful pasta!
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