Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

gluten freemeat & poultry
Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

A few months ago, I “Inspiralized” a Food Network magazine recipe. Of course, Inspiralizing means to transform a regular dish into one using spiralized vegetables.

Inspiralizing should be in the dictionary, right?

It was such a shocking comparison, that I’ve decided to do it again. This time, with a recipe from Food & Wine magazine.

Sadly, I don’t remember which issue this recipe came from – but, the recipe is “Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli, Green Olives and Pancetta.” I took one look at it and I immediately thought… I want!

Inspiralized Recipe

Unfortunately, there’s no original nutritional information to compare this time. However, judging by the fact that I’ve done the following…

  • Reduced the amount of extra-virgin olive oil by 1 tablespoon
  • Eliminated 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Eliminated 1 pound of rigatoni
  • Reduced the amount of ricotta cheese by 1 cup
  • Reduced the amount of parmigiano-Reggiano cheese by 1/4 cup
  • Added 3 large zucchinis

… I’d say that that’s a total savings of 2,177 calories and 319 carbs and 70 grams of fat (or 362 calories and 53 carbs and 11.6 grams of fat/serving).

Wow. 2,177 calories. 319 carbs. 70 grams of fat.

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

Will you ever make the original recipe? I mean, it looks absolutely amazing (who doesn’t love rigatoni and butter?!)… but there’s no reason to! This version of Food & Wine’s beautiful recipe tastes like a guilty pasta casserole. But it’s not.

Lu had this for leftovers and didn’t love the olives, but I dig the olives – it gives the casserole a needed saltiness, on account of the substitutions made. He left about 4 extra olives at the bottom of his bowl, but ate the entire giant portion in about 3 minutes.

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

This yummy casserole tastes like a fancy lasagna and is perfect for impressing a crowd or staying in on a Friday night and treating yourself.

Just like with my zucchini lasagna recipe, you’ll need to pour out some of the excess moisture at the end. If you’re storing for leftovers, make sure you pour out that additional moisture before saving, so the noodles don’t get soggy.

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

Thanks to Food & Wine for inspiring this recipe today…. but, I like my Inspiralized version better. Well, I’m a little biased….

What’s your favorite recipe to Inspiralize?

Nutritional Information & Recipe


Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 6


  • 1-1.5 pounds plum tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup torn basil leaves + 1 basil sprig
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-1.5 lb broccoli cut into small florets
  • 4 oz finely diced pancetta
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 large zucchinis Blade A, noodles trimmed
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and coat a 9 x 13 baking dish and fill with zucchini noodles. Set aside.
  • 2. On a baking tray, toss the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil sprigs with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 17-20 minutes, until softened and browned slightly. Set aside to cook once done.
  • 3. While the tomatoes are roasting, place the broccoli in another baking sheet and lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Leave the oven on and set broccoli aside.
  • 4. Once the tomatoes are done, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the other tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil heats, add in the pancetta and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until pancetta browns and onions soften.
  • 5. While the pancetta is cooking, roughly chop the tomatoes and garlic, reserving all juices.
  • 6. Once the pancetta and onions are done, add in the olives, chopped tomatoes (with juices and garlic) and stir to combine. Set aside in a large mixing bowl with the torn basil, cooked broccoli, pancetta mixture, ricotta cheese and half of the parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine thoroughly and then transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish with the zucchini noodles. Toss to combine so that all noodles are coated with the mixture.
  • 7. Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top and bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned on top.

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

Baked Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Broccoli

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Nicole says:
This sounds amazing!! Is there anything you can replace the cheese with to make this dairy free?
You can omit the cheese completely and it will still be delicious, just not as decadent! You can add 2 cups of raw cauliflower "rice" for color and thickness!
Kate Ransdell says:
This sounds fabulous ... even with the replacement of the cauliflower for the cheese. And ... I gotta tell ya ... I SOOOO appreciate the nutritional information. I am one of those who still counts calories, fat and protein intake so I love it when I don't have to figure it out for myself ... or guess!! Thank you. You inspire me! *Ü*
Thank you for the kind comment! I'm so happy the nutritional information helps!
realfoodbydad says:
This is so amazing, beautiful really. I can;t wait to make this dish over the summer.
You are amazing! Seems like the perfect summer dish!
Thank you! I'm glad you like it!
What a brilliant idea!!! Your version looks every bit as relish as the original!!
Karen Williamson says:
It would be really helpful if you gave zucchinni size in oz also. I live in MI and right now the zucchini is really small. So having an aprox weight would be helpful so I use enough. Thank you love your website.
Alyssa says:
Yes! I agree! Please let us know how many oz. a "medium" zucchini is, as in teh garden sometimes they are tiny, and sometimes they are large! Thanks, and I love your recipies!!!
I made this tonight. I had a ham slice, so I deleted the pancetta and served it as a side dish. I used cheddar and deleted the red pepper flakes. My husband and I thought it was excellent!!
Anna O. says:
Great recipe, I am going to try it tonight! I love that pan you used, where did you get it? Is it a 9X13?
ANN says:
How can you tell which is Blade A?

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cauliflower and carrot masala, totally normal meal on thanksgiving eve, right? 😅🥄

tomorrow we’re going to my BIL’s to hang out with Lu’s side of the family, and I’m excited to see everyone (it’s been YEARS!) and have the kids spend time with their cousins, aunts and uncles 🙏🏼

for the curry, simmer cauliflower, carrots, a jar of @mayakaimalfoods, and 2 cups of @bonafideprovisions veggie broth in a large pot for 20 minutes or until thickened to your preference. add cooked lentils, stir, and serve with jasmine rice, chutney and toasted naan. easy 30 minute meal 👏🏼 not exactly thanksgiving-friendly, but worth a share!

safe travels today and tomorrow and wishing everyone a safe and happy thanksgiving 🦃 I’m so grateful for you

rio and sol are 10 weeks old today! 👶🏻👶🏻 10 weeks! 2.5 months! let's chat.⁣ 🙏🏼

rio is much like luca. he loves to be held and needs more touch or movement to fall back asleep. he loves to stare at things in a serious way, especially high-contrast art for babies, so I love reading him books while I hold him (he's the best snuggler.)⁣

sol is my chill boy. he's a good sleeper. he smiles and loves to talk. he's squealing and making his goo-goo-ga-ga sounds all the time, I love chatting with him. he's a bit more like roma as a baby, a bit more independent. he makes the funniest faces and serves up the grimaces like luca used to.⁣

what's funny about twins is that just when you think you know their personality differences, they change - they'll swap. 🤷🏻‍♀️ and to tell them physically apart, there are two key differences:⁣
⏺ rio has a wider head and sol has a more narrow, round forehead⁣
⏺ rio weighs a full pound more than sol⁣

and yes, I have mixed them up a few times! I've been carrying one around, talking to them by name, and then all of a sudden, when I go to pick the other one up, I realize I mixed them up! 😱when they're not together or you're not looking at them straight on, it can be confusing! one of my favorite games is texting my family photos of them and saying, "who's who?!" they get it right 50% of the time, ha!⁣

so far, having twins is just so cool. it's so cool that there are two of them and they are identical! every week that goes by, their personalities shine and I am having so much fun getting to know them - and getting twice the cuddles. and yes, they do sometimes cry at the same exact time, but you just have to pause, gather yourself, and get your soothing game on.⁣ 💪🏼

I have to say, while having newborn twins and 2 other older kids at the same time has its challenges, I give a LOT of credit to those who have twins as their first baby experience - I can't imagine going into this not knowing what I already knew about raising babies. talk about overwhelming! 🤯 all moms are crushing it, but especially those first time moms with multiples - woop! bless you. 👏🏼 #identicaltwinboys #identicaltwins #monoditwins #twinmom #twinboys