Pasta Al Forno con Crema di Zucchine e Pancetta

By Anthony Silvio

Pasta gurus Barilla and us cheese obsessives here at Vannella joined forces to host a special MasterClass for the #CasaBarillaSydney community. We celebrated the common theme of both brands, “Ingredients of Love”. Hosted by our Creative Director, Anthony Silvio (link to instagram @anthony_silvio), and community lead, Sammy Jakubiak (link to instagram @sammysfeast) of the newly opened Frank’s Deli, the duo cooked up this delicious Pasta al Forno featuring with a creamy zucchini sauce and crispy pancetta. The Casa Barilla Community really enjoyed learning about how the cheese is used in this recipe, and thankfully, weren’t afraid to make it rain!


Serves 8



  • 500g Vannella Cheese Pizzarella, ½ cm cubes
  • 100g Caciocavallo, grated
  • 500g Rigatoni
  • 3 Large zucchinis, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • ¾ Cup water
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ Bunch fresh basil leaves
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 100g Pancetta Stesa (flat cured pancetta)



First prepare the crema di zucchine. The ingredients for the crema can be very roughly cut as it will be blitzed up into a creamy sauce later. In a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil with a peeled and smashed garlic clove until just fragrant. Add the zucchini and sauté for one minute. Add the water, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is softened.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. While the zucchini cools, put a large pot of water on to boil, ready to cook the pasta. Slice up your pancetta into strips and cook on medium heat in a dry pan until crisp. There is no need to add any frying oil as the pancetta is fatty and we want to render out that excess fat.i>

After 10 minutes of resting the zucchini, add the fresh basil leaves and half of the grated Mastro. Blend it into a creamy sauce using a stick blender, a food processor or blender, and set aside.

Tip: If you don’t have any of the listed equipment, alternatively you can mash the mixture together with a potato masher which will combine the ingredients nicely, though you will end up with a more textured sauce instead of a “crema”.

Once the pot of water is at a rolling boil, add a couple of pinches of rock salt and boil the Rigatoni for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. The idea is to purposely undercook the pasta so that by the time it bakes in the oven it remains lovely and al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 200°C on the fan assisted bake setting (or just bake setting) and prepare a 30cm x 20cm baking dish. Once the Rigatoni has cooked for 9 minutes, retain a ¼ cup of the starchy cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander. Transfer the drained pasta back into the emptied pot. Add the crema di zucchine, the reserved pasta cooking water, cubes of Pizzarella, crispy pancetta, and gently stir well to coat. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle over with the remaining grated Mastro.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges of the pasta on top are super crispy. Allow the dish to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Tip: Pasta Al Forno is even better the following day!