This delicious corn and zucchini pasta recipe is filled with garden-fresh sweet corn and summer zucchini and takes less than 30 minutes to make. So, if you’re looking to try out a new pasta shape, or just trying to get the kiddos to eat more veggies, this is a really good dish to try. Radiatore pasta has quickly become a favorite in our house and we keep both whole wheat and the regular semolina varieties well-stocked in our pasta pantry because it works well with all kinds of sauces. This really is a tasty vegan pasta that’s healthy and filling making it dinner you can feel good about serving your whole family.
What is Radiatore Pasta?
It’s worth mentioning again, we really love this pasta noodle. It’s so satisfying to bite down on with its chewy wavy ridges that get coated with sauce and hide bursts of sweet summer corn kernels. This pasta shape was invented sometime between WWI and WWII and was modeled after the shape of a radiator (hence the name). It has a straight “pipe-like” canal with concentric fins on either side which are great for trapping this delicious sauce (or any sauce). It’s also really great for making pasta salad and also for adding to soups. If you can’t find radiatore pasta for this recipe, use fusilli or rotini as a substitute.
Easy Radiatore Pasta with Corn and Zucchini Ingredients
I made up this pasta recipe based on the Spaghetti alle Zucchine pasta I learned to make from L’s mom. So, feel free to use the amounts and ingredients below as a guideline, but don’t hesitate to add “a little more of this or that”. Using the amounts below gives you a great-tasting pasta with flavor and veggies in every bite.
- 5 1/2 ounces radiatore pasta (or fusilli or rotini) (150g)
- 15 ounces zucchini, sliced (425g)
- 1 ear (or about 1 cup) fresh or frozen sweet corn (150g)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste (28g)
- salt to taste
- crushed red peppers (optional)
How to Make Radiatore Pasta with Fresh Summer Corn and Zucchini
- Prepare the veggies. Wash and slice zucchini into rounds and set aside. Wash cut the corn off of the cobb and set aside.
- Cook the zucchini. Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Place the zucchini rounds in the skillet in s single layer. Season the zucchini with salt and cook until golden brown. Using a pair of tongs, turn the zucchini over and cook on the second side until golden. Repeat with the remaining zucchini until all are cooked. Place them in a dish and set them aside while you cook the corn.
- Sauté the corn. In the same skillet, sauté the corn for a couple of minutes on high heat until they are slightly golden brown and cooked through. Turn off the skillet while you wait for the pasta to cook.
- Prepare the pasta cooking water. While the corn is cooking, bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook pasta to “al dente” according to package instructions.
- Build the sauce. Just before the pasta is finished cooking, add the zucchini back to the pan with the corn and smash half of it using a fork. Turn the heat back to high and when there are about 3 minutes from the pasta being cooked, add a ladle full of starchy pasta cooking water to the skillet with the corn and zucchini to make the sauce. Add more to make a looser sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt as needed.
- Assemble the pasta. Strain the pasta and add it directly to the cooking sauce. Give it a few tosses to coat and serve! Add grated Parm if desired and Enjoy!
Radiatore Pasta w/Zucchini + Corn step-by-step recipe photos and instructions
Ways to Customize this Corn & Zucchini Pasta Recipe
Here are a few add-ins that work really well in this pasta.
- add 1/2 cup sausage or chorizo
- add 1 to 2 slices of crispy bacon or crispy pancetta
- add 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely chopped red bell peppers
- add 1/4 cup of grated sauteed carrot (for color and a little extra nutrition)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream + 1/4 cup grated cheese (once it’s removed from the heat) to make a Parmesan cream-based sauce
How to Cook Pasta Like a Pro Every Time
If you’ve eaten a forkful of pasta at your favorite restaurant you may have wondered why it can sometimes be so much richer and velvety (even tastier) than the stuff you make at home. Restaurants typically use more fat (and sometimes dairy) than you’d ever imagine cooking with at home. And one of the biggest differences between your spaghetti and theirs mostly comes down to cooking techniques and the quality of ingredients used. In order to bring out the best texture, flavor, and maximum pasta goodness, follow the guidelines below.
Don’t pre-cook your pasta noodles. In most cases, try to time the pasta so that the sauce is ready just before (or well in advance of) the noodles and not the other way around.
Add starchy pasta cooking water to the sauce. Just before the noodles are finished cooking to “al dente” doneness, add a little starchy water to the sauce and stir.
Don’t over-salt the cooking water. If the pasta cooking water is too salty, it’ll make your final sauce too salty when it gets added. Alternatively, if the pasta water is not salty enough, the noodles will be bland.
Cook the pasta directly in the sauce at the end and toss. When you can, it’s good to finish cooking the noodles directly in the sauce for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. But this is not a technique to be used when making Pasta alla Carbonara because egg yolks are involved.
Don’t add any cheese while the sauce is boiling, simmering, or otherwise cooking. Adding grated cheese to a pasta sauce while it’s cooking, causes the cheese to separate and become stringy. The fat in the cheese will separate leaving the sauce oily. Instead, remove the sauce or pasta from the heat and add the cheese after 15-20 seconds. Alternatively, in some recipes, you may serve the grated cheese at the table instead of adding it directly to the pasta.
Skip the dairy. Butter and cream aren’t necessary to create a smooth velvety texture to pasta, although in the right amounts and in the right sauce the addition can be absolutely delicious. If you’re using dairy to enhance the flavor, go for it, but if you’re just trying to create a better mouthfeel, use the techniques above and you can’t go wrong.
If the sauce is tomato-based use Mutti brand tomatoes (or the best San Marzano DOP tomatoes). My recommended canned tomato brand to use for all your tomato-based pasta sauces is Mutti. These are the best 100% Italian (non-GMO, no additives or preservatives added), tomatoes from near and around Parma, Italy. These tomatoes are available in the US (and other global markets including China.
In Italy, if your family doesn’t grow and can their own tomatoes, or buy them from a local producer, Mutti is a staple found in just about every cupboard here. The reason is simple. These tomatoes are delicious with intense real tomato flavor. We have access to an abundant variety of high-quality canned San Marzano DOP tomatoes that we like to buy, but we still always keep Mutti on hand. They’re consistently good. Using a consistent brand that’s available to me and you make the most sense. I’m not paid by Mutti. for the endorsement. They are just one of the best brands you can find in the States.
What are the top 5 Italian Pasta dishes of all time? In my opinion, it’s impossible there are only 5 pastas that are the best, but if I were forced to decide, it could be any of these: Ragù alla Bolognese (with rigatoni, pappardelle or any other appropriate noodle), Pesto alla Genovese, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Spaghetti or Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Spaghetti or Linguine alle Vongole, and Bigoli all’Anatra. I could name 20 more, but these offer a wide variety and are a great place to start.
Looking for More Delicious Pasta Dishes to Make?
Above are a few of our favorite pasta dishes that we think you might also enjoy.
- Anniversary Pasta (Spicy Shrimp Tomato-Alfredo Sauce w/Rigatoni)
- Italian Duck Ragù with Bigoli (Bigoli al Ragù d’Anatra)
- Classic Lasagna Bolognese (authentic Italian recipe)
- Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta Recipe (w/Parmigiano Cream Sauce)
- Baked Ziti with Ragù (from Scratch)
- 15-Minute Shrimp Pasta w/Garganelli (the Italian Way)
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Cook Pasta Like A Roman)
- Tagliatelle al Ragù (Northern Italian Beef Ragù w/Pasta)
- Cajun Style Royal Red Shrimp Pasta for One (or a crowd)
- Triple Shrimp Trighetto Pasta (Creamy Shrimp Pasta)