Spaghetti With Zucchini, Parsley Pesto and Bottarga

Spaghetti With Zucchini, Parsley Pesto and Bottarga

Bottarga, the salted, cured roe of grey mullet or tuna, is a delicacy enjoyed by many. It is especially beloved in Sardinia and Sicily, but is eaten throughout the Mediterranean and around the world. Bottarga has a bright, briny flavor and is used to complement any number of dishes. Here, a simple zucchini pasta with a bright green (cheeseless, nutless) parsley pesto is showered with grated bottarga and crisp breadcrumbs. Look for bottarga at Italian shops or online. It’s available grated, but it is better to buy whole lobes and grate your own. Once the package is opened, it will keep for months in the refrigerator.


For the pesto:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped green garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds medium zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons grated bottarga (4 to 6 ounces)
  • About 1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs (see Note)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Nutritional Information
      • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

        635 calories; 33 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 23 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 70 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 677 milligrams sodium

    Note: The information shown is’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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  1. Make the pesto: Put parsley in a food processor or blender. Add garlic, a good pinch of salt, black pepper to taste, and olive oil. Whirl to make a smooth sauce. You should have about 1 cup of pesto.
  2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente, erring on the slightly underdone side.
  3. While the pasta cooks, put about 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the zucchini for about 2 minutes. Let it brown a little. Add salt, pepper, red-pepper flakes and lemon zest.
  4. Add drained pasta to skillet along with half the pesto. Toss everything together. Taste, and add more salt or pesto as needed. (Wrap and refrigerate any remaining pesto for up to 2 days or freeze for future use.)
  5. Divide pasta among individual plates and sprinkle generously with bottarga. Top with breadcrumbs, and serve with lemon wedges.


  • To make toasted breadcrumbs, combine 1 cup coarse breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

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