Penne with Calamari, Zucchini & Their Flowers


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Limoncello and Linen Water

Limoncello and Linen Water

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2012

  • About

Nice, summery and so simple, especially if you have zucchini growing in abundance. It’s also a good way of using some of those flowers that dress up the garden. Parmesan may not usually be served with this on account of the calamari, but I think it adds a lovely extra layer. You decide.


  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/about 8) small calamari (squid)
  • about 8 lovely large zucchini (courgette) flowers
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra, for serving
  • 6 small zucchini (courgettes) (about 400 g/14 oz), sliced into rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • pinch of ground chilli
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 320 g (11¼ oz) penne rigate
  • grated parmesan, to serve, if you like


Clean the calamari. Remove the ink sac and the beaky part around the tentacles. Keep small tentacles whole and halve them if big. Pull out and discard the transparent quill and rinse the calamari well. Slice the body into rings and keep on a plate with the tentacles.

Rinse the zucchini flowers and remove the inner parts. Cut each flower into 3-4 chunks. Keep aside on paper towels. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the zucchini rounds and half the garlic. Season with some salt and sauté until the zucchini are cooked and golden in parts. Add the flowers and cook for just a moment. Scrape out into a bowl. Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining garlic to the pan. When the garlic smells good, add the calamari and sauté for a minute or two. Season with the chilli and salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of the parsley and the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, until the wine reduces.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the penne to al dente. Return the zucchini to the pan with the calamari and heat for a couple of minutes. Scoop out the pasta with a slotted spoon and mix with the calamari and zucchini, adding a little of the pasta cooking water to help it move smoothly along its way. Add the rest of the parsley, tossing it through gently and evenly. Serve in warm wide pasta bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil, a good grind of pepper and a little grated parmesan, if you wish.