Cavatelli pasta with zucchini and garlic

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's Cavatelli pasta with zucchini and garlic.
Neil Perry's Cavatelli pasta with zucchini and garlic. Photo: William Meppem

If time and energy is short, you can replace the cavatelli with a store-bought pasta - penne works well.


600g "00" flour

1/2 tsp salt

plain flour, for dusting

1 cup basil, firmly packed

rind of 1 lemon, finely grated

parmesan, finely grated, to serve

For zucchini sauce

200g butter, coarsely chopped

1kg zucchini, sliced 5mm thick

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced



Knead the flour, salt and 260ml water in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook until dough is very smooth and comes together into a ball (about 15 minutes). It may seem too dry at first, but don't add extra water. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 5 pieces. Roll each into a cylinder on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Roll each half into a 1cm-diameter cylinder. Cut each into 1cm pieces and dust with flour. Flatten each piece to form a long oval then press gently lengthways along the centre of each piece with a butter knife to create an indent, with the sides rolling in towards one another. Transfer cavatelli to a tray dusted with flour and repeat with remaining dough.

For the zucchini sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the zucchini in batches. Stir occasionally until the zucchini is tender but the butter and zucchini are not coloured (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the garlic to pan, cook until translucent (3-4 minutes), return zucchini to pan and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in batches in salted boiling water until al dente (about 2-3 minutes). Drain, reserving 300ml pasta water, and return pasta to pan with zucchini mixture. Add 100ml pasta water, stir over medium heat for 1 minute then continue adding reserved water, 100ml at a time, and stir until zucchini is tender and liquid forms a thick sauce (about 2-3 minutes; you may not need all the reserved water).

Stir in the basil and lemon rind, season to taste and serve hot with grated parmesan.

Serves 4-6