Fourth of July

Penne with Sweet Summer Vegetables, Pine Nuts, and Herbs

July 25, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Think of this recipe as summer in a bowl. The sweet corn, bursting cherry tomatoes, and tender zucchini lighten up a savory, satisfying bowl of pasta. Proof that meatless dishes can be quick, easy, and a joy to eat! —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
  • 2 large zucchini or summer squash, sliced in half lengthwise and then chopped into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 3 tbsp and 1 tbsp
  • 8 ounces penne or farfalle pasta
  • 1/3 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set a pot of boiled water on the stove to boil.
  2. Toss vegetables and garlic with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Keep the corn separate, however. Divide all vegetables save corn onto baking sheets and start roasting them for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re vegetables are becoming sweet, golden, and slightly caramelized (to get this effect, you’ll want to avoid tossing them around too much as they cook). Fifteen minutes before the end of the roasting process, add the corn, which cooks a little faster than the other vegetables!
  3. If you’re using the pine nuts, now is the time to toast them gently in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Stir them continually, and remove them as soon as they’re becoming golden.
  4. Cook pasta till tender but slightly al dente. Drain and return to pot, reserving a small amount of the cooking liquid.
  5. Add the roast vegetables, along with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and a tiny bit of the cooking liquid, to the pasta. Toss in the basil and oregano, and serve, topped with toasted pine nuts if desired.
  6. Note: most fresh pastas do contain egg or milk. So use any of the popular dry brands, like Barilla or De Cecco. Whole wheat pasta if you’re feeling crunchy. And if you happen to be making dinner for a vegan with a gluten allergy (or anyone with a gluten allergy), don’t freak out. You can use brown rice or quinoa pasta in place of the regular pasta. They’re both a fantastic option for gluten free diners, and in my opinion, much tastier and more authentic than whole wheat pasta!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alyssa Tischler
    Alyssa Tischler
  • Cheryl
  • Jamilla Okubo
    Jamilla Okubo
  • Lyn Crouch
    Lyn Crouch
  • WildRiceLLC

27 Reviews

Alyssa T. August 6, 2018
This is one of my summer go to's! Absolutely love. I make two changes: 1) I use a pound of pasta - I like the vegetable-pasta ratio better and 2) I add in goat cheese. Absolutely perfect for summer!
Cheryl August 27, 2017
Very good! I appreciated that the pasta-to-vegetable ratio was low. I used 3 ears of corn and as someone else suggested, put the tomatoes on a separate sheet. I'm not sure how you would get all of the veggies on one sheet anyway.
d. W. August 3, 2016
This recipe was wonderfully light...and quite delicious!
Jamilla O. July 30, 2016
This was very delicious! Thank you for such a great recipe
Lyn C. June 19, 2016
Delicious! Summer on a plate.
WildRiceLLC August 6, 2015
This is absolutely fantastic. I made it exactly as written and I got rave reviews. Thank you for posting such a great recipe.
HUSdesigns September 3, 2014
Perfect use for sweet corn! Delicious meatless main dish.
TheWimpyVegetarian July 30, 2013
This is dinner tonight! Yay! Thanks for the idea by making this recipe of the day!
Annelise April 10, 2013
My boyfriend and I tackled this recipe for dinner last night and were thrilled with the results. We diverted from the recipe a bit by not roasting the red onion with the rest of the vegetables. Instead, we sliced the onion rather than chopping it and sauteed it in vegan butter and then cooked the onion down even more with a bit of red wine. It made the onion really sweet with a caramelized flavor. They were wild with flavor and integrated wonderfully into the dish when we tossed all of the ingredients together. We also added more variety to the vegetables by using summer squash, zucchini and grape tomatoes. It was delicious and we can't wait to eat our leftovers.
Butternut February 3, 2013
Made this with whole wheat penne. It's very good and I would make it again, although next time, will roast the tomatoes separately. They released a lot of fluids and the vegetables ended up steaming as well as roasting. I garnished with chopped raw green jalapeños, and used cilantro instead of oregano.
sharman.henderson December 2, 2012
Can't wait to make this!
ktmckinsey September 26, 2012
This was amazing!! I've made the "crunchy" version with whole wheat pasta and no meat in sight. I've also made this with chopped andouille sausage for my meat-loving mother-in-law. She said that it's better than most things she's had at high-end Italian restaurants. However you make it, it's hard to go wrong with roasted veggies.
sharli September 14, 2012
Just finished a beautiful, delicious plate of pasta......licked my spoon and fingers too! Simple, classy dish to be appreciated by the discerning foodies.....
lisa R. September 1, 2012
Very Nice and Very Easy recipe! Everyone in my family enjoyed it.
juliunruly August 14, 2012
I loved this dish! I made it as written, and used home-grown tomatoes (three varieties), and onions. Don't underestimate the sweetness of the finished product -- if I didn't know better, I'd swear sugar had been added! I sprinkled a bit of parmigiano reggiano to add a bit of saltiness to counter it. Very, very tasty.
AmandaO August 11, 2012
I made this as written, except with fresh linguine and I forgot the pine nuts. Delicious! The leftovers were even amazing. I splashed a little of the pasta water into the leftovers and it kept the pasta really soft.
I added a piece of grilled salmon the first night.
kay H. August 6, 2012
I made this for two people. My intention was to have mostly vegetables so I roasted all the vegetables listed in the recipe, but used half the pasta amount. I cut the red onion in large rings. Like AMGenco above, I added more garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar. It was delicious and easy to make.
EllieinArecibo August 3, 2012
I made this for dinner last night. The directions could use some improvement here but an experienced cook will be able to work their way through it using some common sense. As another comment pointed out, no instructions on how to cut the squash--I had very large squash so I cut them into about 3/4 inch chunks, similar to the size of the tomatoes. I also accidentally tossed all the veggies together before realizing that the corn is supposed to stay separate, so picking it out before roasting was a huge pain and I wish this was made clearer up front. I used 3 extra cloves of garlic, did the first roast for about 22 mins, the second round (the "plus corn" round) for 15. I tossed the veggies with a splash of balsamic vinegar upon taking them out, and also threw in some crumbled feta and the toasted pine nuts.

It was delicious! This is an easy and healthy way to eat a lot of good summer veggies, I just think the recipe could be written better. I think using weight measurements for the veggies would be more accurate, for example. Just my two cents!
Gena H. August 3, 2012
Sorry for the confusion about the corn and the vegetable size! That's good feedback for me for future recipes. So very glad you enjoyed it.
Sally H. July 31, 2012
I have a couple of questions. No mentions made of how to chop/slice the squash. Also the tomatoes- do you just leave them whole? How about the onions - chopped fine or in big chunks? Thanks!
Gena H. August 3, 2012
Hi Sally,

Slice the zucchini lengthwise and then chop into 1/2 inch thick slices. As for tomatoes, I'd roast them whole (they'll collapse while roasting). I chopped my onion into a large dice, but as you can see from the photo above, it's also fine to leave it in large slices/chunks -- you can use your intuition on that one!
Lin July 29, 2012
I will certainly make this dish soon. Would love to have te option of printing the picture with the recipe please.