Mint and zucchini tagliatelle: Italian beauty!

Zucchine and mint tagliatelle

2 Servings

Hello everyone! 🙂

Let me thank a couple of people before I share this wonderful recipe with all of you.

First: the photo setting. Do not get any fancy idea. The red roses are not from Stefano. The last time he gave me red roses we weren’t even dating!!! 😉 Haven’t you noticed that flowers are one of the first things to disappear into thin air in the course of a long-term relationship? But I’m digressing. Back to the roses: they are the gracious present that Anatoli from the wonderful wine blog Talk-a-Vino and his lovely wife brought me last time they came over for dinner. You don’t know him? You don’t know what you are missing. His blog offers a wealth of knowledge on anything wine-related and is a pleasure to read: go check it out and decide for yourselves! 🙂

Anyway, for some reason, whenever I see a red rose, I get to think about the “famous” scene from the movie American Beauty. So, finding myself with all those gorgeous and vibrant red petals I couldn’t resist putting them to good use by recreating that scene in a… food context, so the photo setting for this dish was a real no brainer. Thank you, Anatoli and Victoria!!! Hope you like the photograph. 🙂

My second thank you note goes to my aunt Pia, my mother’s sister. She came over to visit us and we found a little time (but not much!) for cooking. She was born and raised in Southern Italy but she has been living in Liguria (a region in the northwest of Italy) since forever, so her cuisine is a combination of the two Italian souls. During her stay, she taught me how to make some of her signature dishes including the one I’m sharing with you today. Dear aunt, thank you so much!!! I hope you’ll find that the image makes justice to your recipe! 🙂

But enough with the cha cha, and let’s talk food.


1/4 cup, extravirgin olive oil
1 Tbsp, butter
2 zucchini
2 Tsp, harissa
4 mint leaves
Half pack of tagliatelle
1 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese


Wash the zucchini under cold water. On a chopping board, cut about 1/4 inch off each side and slice the zucchini thinly and evenly.

In a large non-stick skillet, put the olive oil and the butter and let the butter melt. When the butter is melted, add the zucchini and some salt (to taste), toss to coat and cook on low heat. After 10 minutes, add the harissa and keep cooking until the zucchini are simmered.

Put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil.  When the water is boiling, add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally.

While the tagliatelle are cooking, shred the mint leaves with your hands, add them to the zucchini and, on a very low heat, toss to coat.

Drain the tagliatelle, setting aside some of the water where the pasta has been cooked. Put the tagliatelle into the skillet with the zucchini and toss to coat. If the zucchini sauce is too dry, add some of the water you put aside.

Put the tagliatelle into the serving plates and, if you wish, dust the top of each plate with the parmigiano cheese.

Buon appetito!

PS: isn’t it unbelievable that Annette Bening didn’t win the Oscar for her role in American Beauty? She was magnificent! And she didn’t win it for Being Julia either!!! I can’t help but wondering: what were the Academy people thinking?    


About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at :-)
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49 Responses to Mint and zucchini tagliatelle: Italian beauty!

  1. Oh my, I will have to add that to my repertoire. It reminded me that I have a recipe for lime-mint fettuccine which is also really good and should be great for this summer…sigh. So much to cook, so little time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

    • Francesca says:

      Lime-mint fettuccine? Sounds heaven to me, Oliver! Looking forward to trying it when you are ready to share it. 😉

      • It is actually super easy and it is unlikely I will get to it before we leave for vacation. I use linguine and combine them with a mix of melted butter, lime juice, lime zest and mint leaves. That’s it. Super easy, and insanely refreshing on a hot summer day. Naturally served with parmiggiano.

      • Francesca says:

        Naturally! Thank you for sharing that, Oliver. I have a lemon sauce recipe that resembles yours. I’ll give the lime version a try for sure. 🙂

      • Let me know what you think!!

  2. Darya says:

    Very nice! I love the addition of Harissa to this dish!

  3. Sofia says:

    Wow, looks like a very delicious meal! And beautiful with the rose petals (?) too 🙂

  4. I love the food recreation of the American Beauty scene- how creative! One of my favorite movies, and I too agree its a tragedy that Mrs. Bening didn’t win any awards for her acting!!

  5. chef mimi says:

    Beautiful photo! I love Annette benning, too….

  6. Love this, I don’t have harissa what can your recommend as a substitute? It sounds delicious, I do have chili sauce and pepperoncini.

    • Francesca says:

      Hello Suzanne! Actually, the original recipe provides for some peperoncino. I decided to replace it with harissa so what you have in your pantry is perfect.

  7. talkavino says:

    Francesca, I’m very humbled by all your kind words, thank you very much! Myself and Victoria are glad you put roses to the great use 🙂
    The pasta recipe sounds great, I love all the things zucchini, and the way you cook the pasta is just absolutely amazing!

  8. Dina says:

    Dear Francesca,this look all yummy so very delicious! Tasty recipe and a gorgeous presentation – as always I immediately spot the photographer. 🙂 I’d love to have a portion of this right now and lean back and see The American Beauty again, but oh, dear… the clinic is waiting and I have to rush! Have a lovely weekend, whatever is left of it… I’m getting all confused about the various timezones, but you’re behind us aren’t you?
    Big hug! ♥
    and the bookfayries Siri & Selma send you lots of Fayriedust,
    🙂 :-9

  9. Hi Francesa

    It’s many years since I saw American Beauty but you have just reminded me how much I enjoyed. Of course, I remember that famous scene and I like your culinary recreation of it. And I love the pretty china.

    Now I have a confession – I have never used harissa. It wasn’t a deliberate thing not to use I just never cooked a recipe in which it was needed. However as I believe it’s a good idea to try new things I am going to cook your Mint, zucchini (courgettes here) and tagliatelle dish next week.

    I hope you are all having an enjoyable weekend. B 😉

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    How nice that your Aunt came for a visit! Wonderful, too, that she prepared such a fantastic dish with you. My family never cooked with mint nor harissa, so, this is a pasts unlike any I’ve tried before. That’s certainly enough reason for me to prepare it. Thanks, Francesca, for so generously sharing her recipe with us.

  11. gotasté says:

    What a lovely recipe. I would love to try it.

  12. alisitaliankitchen says:

    This looks fabulous! Totally my kind of salad! And I do agree about Annette Bening not winning the Oscar for ‘American Beauty’! What is the matter with those people!

  13. Fig & Quince says:

    Thank you for conjuring that iconic American Beauty scene so delightfully via your delicious food! love it! and hmmm, getting roses from your S.O BEFORE you were dating? I sense a good story there …

  14. I’ll bet it’s delicious even if I can’t find any rose petals….

  15. Kiara Style says:

    How timely! Since the kids left for to visit the grandparents in Italy I have been too lazy to cook….my zucchini from the farmers market have been sitting in a basket for a couple of days….I bet hubby would be happy to see some dinner 🙂 I always love your recipes and your cute way of introducing them. Ciao bella

    • Francesca says:

      Ciao Chiara. Enjoy every single second of your freedom. I’m going to Italy too next week. I can’t wait!!! 🙂

      • Kiara Style says:

        Bella, I hope you have a terrific time in Italy! I look forward to having you come back even more inspired by the scents, smell and taste of Italian ingredients and combinations!…..I will follow your steps in one month 🙂 Keep in touch!

      • Francesca says:

        Oh Chiara! I have all intentions of keeping my nostrils open as much as possible. 🙂

  16. This is such a cool combination of flavors. I love the idea of spicy harissa in pasta. Sounds like a lovely little north African flavor (which totally makes sense to your Sicilian auntie!). So cool, will have to try this!

    • Francesca says:

      Harissa can give just the right twist to lots of dishes. I personally think it is such a nice addition to this one. Thank you for your comment, Francesca!

  17. selmafee says:

    Dearest Francescafee,
    this is my first visit to your lovely table, I like it a lot!* You have a sweet fayriefee in your header, who is this? Flora maybe? Thank you for sharing this recipe with all of us, I’ll give it a try!
    A big hug and lots of fayriedust coming your way #######

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Selma, for stopping by! Our dear friend Alexandra drew the fairy based on a photo of our little one. Flora is one of the fairies in Sleeping Beauty, our daughter’s favorite fairy tale. Plus, I’m really into flowers so Flora seemed the most natural choice. I guess you found another sister. 😉

  18. sirifee says:

    It’s lovely being here, Francesca – I like what I see and I can almost taste it! 🙂
    I’ll be back for more.
    Fayriedust to you and big hug ♥
    Siri ######

  19. mmmarzipan says:

    My kind of pasta! Looks amazing, Francesca! 🙂

  20. Karen says:

    Love the use of mint and harissa in your beautifully presented pasta dish.

  21. My wife is growing mint on our deck. As soon as it becomes a reality and I pick up some zucchini at the Farmers Market this will tried. Looks and sounds outstanding. First saw Annette in The Grifters, she didn’t win for that either if my memory is correct.

  22. Francesca says:

    Thank you so much! I saw the Grifters. I think all the main actors (Huston, Cusack and Bening) where great! 🙂

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