Charred Zucchini with Rigatoni, Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, and Mixed Herbs

I’m continuing with my recipe posts devoted to one of my favorite methods of cooking; broiling.

Take a look at my latest video below. I’ll show you how to make delicious charred zucchini in the broiler. You won’t believe how good this underestimated vegetable can taste when the right cooking method is applied.

Keep in mind that the recipe below is written for those who aren’t worried about broiling on the top rack. The only piece of advice I give here is to be mindful of timing. Depending on the strength of your oven’s broiler element, cooking time may vary a bit, so just check the zucchini often.

If you watch my video, you’ll notice that I’ve positioned the rack on the second rack guide for those just learning about the broil function. The zucchini will take a bit longer to cook, but it’ll caramelize slower, giving you a bit more control until you become more familiar with broiling.

Broiler Cooking 101: Charred Zucchini with Rigatoni, Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, and Mixed Herbs

Serves 4 with leftovers for lunch!

  • 2 large zucchini, about 2 lb.
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta, or similar
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, quartered if large
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chili paste, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint ribbons
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed basil ribbons
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Position a rack in the top part of the oven and turn the oven to high broil.

Cut the zucchini into lengthwise planks, about ½-inch thick. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with some of the oil. Put the zucchini on the tray in an even layer; it’s OK if some overlap.

Brush the remaining oil over the zucchini planks, and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil the zucchini until it begins to char deep golden in places, 4 to 6 minutes, depending upon the strength of your broiler setting. Flip the zucchini and continue to broil until it begins to char deep golden in places, about 3 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions to about 1 minute before al-dente. Add the frozen peas and continue to cook until the peas are tender, about 1 minute more. Drain the mixture and return to the pot with the cherry tomatoes, granulated garlic, chili paste, mint, and basil.

Cut the zucchini directly on the sheet tray into bite-size pieces. Add the zucchini to the pot with the pasta mixture along with all the pan juices and brown bits, add the remaining olive oil, and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste, divide between bowls and serve with the lemon wedges.

For the sake of convenience, here’s a link to my Tuna Melt recipe, another great broiler recipe.

–Chef Diana

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