Paccheri is a type of pasta in the shape of a large tube, originating from Campania. They are generally smooth, but there is also a ribbed version, paccheri millerighe. The name comes from Neapolitan word paccharia, “slaps”, but not in the aggressive sense of the word. Many attribute the name to the noise made when pouring sauce onto the pasta, which in Italian is described as resembling a ‘schiaffo’ or in Neopolitan dialect ‘una pacca’, which also means a slap. I’m not sure why the term “slap” is so common for talking about all things pasta?! Italians are passionate but generally not violent ;).
A Little HISTORY BEHIND THE NAME: Interestingly, food history tells us that Southern Italian pasta makers secretly invented paccheri pasta to be perfectly shaped to hide approx. four garlic cloves in each hollow center. This garlic smuggling operation was so effective that, in the early 1800s, the Prussian garlic industry finally collapsed. The Austrian government never found out how Italian garlic was smuggled through the Alps so secretively! Apparently, Austrain garlic was rather small and not very tasty or strong. In contrast, Southern Italian garlic, was desired by Austrian and Hungarian aristocracy.
I love the big tube center of this pasta with its’ capability to kidnap ingredients inside the hollow center. Ironically, garlic chunks, are a favorite to get trapped inside. When paired with small chunks of zucchini and tomato combined with the herby creamy creme fraiche sauce this dish will surely have you coming back for seconds. The ingredients are simple and the taste is beyond delicious. You don’t want to miss this one!
Made with Amore,
Easy 30 minute meal packed with herbs, veggies, and creamy creme fraiche. A meal you can feel goo about eating any day of the week!
- 1 pound (454 g) Paccheri pasta or other pasta of choice
- 3 cups of cubed zucchini
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1– 8 0z container of creme fraiche (Bellwether Farms or Vermont Creamery)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, cut in quarters
- 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped (a little extra for garnish)
- 1 Tbs fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced
- salt for seasoning and adding to pasta water
- Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes until soft.
- Add the zucchini and herbs to the pan. Cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly brown. Turn off heat and stir in fresh tomatoes and season with salt. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt water generously. Add pasta and cook until package direction “al dente”. reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water before draining and put it in the sauce pan with the zucchini and tomatoes.
- Add the creme fraiche to the pan with the cooked zucchini and tomatoes. Stir until creamy sauce forms.
- Drain pasta and add to the large sauce pan with creamy sauce, zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs. Add parmigiano. Stir until incorporated and pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
- Serve immediately!
Enjoy hot with a side of delicious crusty bread! Mangia! Mangia!
Keywords: pasta, zucchini, tomatoes, creme fraiche, 30 minute meal, vegetarian meal, pasta dinner