Penne Arrabiata with Grilled Courgette and Toasted Cashews

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August 2, 2013 by Dewi

Pasta, courgette and cashews in a fiery tomato sauce. Perfect for a delicious (and budget-friendly) lunch or dinner.


Penne arrabiata translates into English as ‘angry penne’, but after a plateful of this pasta you’ll feel anything but. However, your mouth might feel like it’s a little bit on fire. The sauce is a rich italian tomato sauce, with fresh chillies added to make it as hot as you fancy. The sweetness of the grilled courgette goes perfectly with this hot sauce, and the cashews’ natural nuttiness (which is made even more delicious when they’re toasted) adds another element to the dish which works very well indeed.

I love how quick this dish is to make, it can be cooked in about 20 minutes without too much effort, and the end result is a wholesome, flavourful vegetarian dish which packs a fiery punch.

Serves 2


  • 200g penne pasta
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 2 medium courgettes, sliced lengthways (see images below)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2-4 chillies, finely chopped
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I used Verrini Munari)
  • Large handful basil (stalks included), finely chopped



Put the cashew nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat and toast gently, being careful not to burn them.


Once they’re coloured all over, remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and fry the onion for 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the garlic and chillies and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.


Now add the tinned tomatoes and the basil and season well with salt and pepper.

Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, in plenty of salted water, cook your pasta as per the packet instructions.

While the pasta and the sauce are simmering away, place a griddle pan over a high heat.

Drizzle the slices of courgette with olive oil and season well.


When the griddle is hot, add the courgette and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.


After the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes, add the red wine vinegar, and allow to cook out for about 3-4 minutes.

Drain the pasta (reserving some of the starchy water to loosen the sauce if necessary).

Combine the pasta and the sauce, mix really well and add some of the pasta water if you think it needs it.


Serve with the grilled courgette and top with the toasted nuts.



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