#MillennialMeals: Penne & Grated Zucchini

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You Can All Be Rock Stars in the Kitchen!

Written By: Lorena Gastaldi; Journalist, Recipe Developer & Food Photographer

Food & Lifestyle Columnist, The Corporate Canvas

Instagram: @lorena_gastaldi

I was so honoured when Zimasa Qolohle, not only the fabulous editor of The Corporate Canvas but a very dear friend of mine, asked me to write a monthly column featuring easy to make meals for the millennial woman on the go. However, my excitement soon turned to panic which, then manifested into writer’s block. So as I sat at my kitchen counter looking for the words that would inspire all of you to find the “Nigella” within, I asked myself a simple question, “What is my goal by writing this column? What do I want to achieve?” And then it hit me, I want each and every one of you to feel like a rock star in the kitchen. I want you to look forward to cooking – not to dread it. To become passionate about it and hopefully find that it can be a fun and relaxing task and not a chore.

I have worked in the 9 to 5 (or let’s be honest 8 to 8 most days) corporate world and I know all too well the feeling of being stuck in traffic on your way home and the thought of preparing a meal for yourself or for your family is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. So either you end up going out for dinner, which, let’s be honest can add up these days, or you guiltily buy a ready-made-pop-in-the-oven-meal and the worst of the worst – the wicked take-away. I have been guilty of all of the above and don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than ordering a pizza on a Friday night and enjoying a “chef’s night off” – come on, we’re all human.

However, my hope is that with the many quick and easy recipes I share with you once a month, your kitchen will soon become a place of relaxation; a place that you look forward to getting stuck into, whether after work or on the weekend. And most importantly, a place of fun. So ladies, pour yourselves a glass of wine, and let’s get to it.

The first recipe I have decided to share with you is something I came up with after a long day at work and getting home only to realize that I had forgotten to defrost the chicken I was going to roast that evening. Tempted to call for a take-away, I begrudgingly put my phone away and opened the fridge. In there I found some lovely fresh baby marrows (zucchini). I always have the basic ingredients stocked in my pantry such as olive oil, garlic, chilli and of course a packet of pasta. “With these, I can make a plan.” I thought to myself. Therefore, I would like to present to you, one of the easiest, and most delicious recipes in my repertoire; Penne with Grated Zucchini.

Happy cooking!


Penne with Grated Zucchini


200 grams penne pasta (you can use any shape you prefer)

2 tablespoons salt

4 large zucchini, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional – you can add more or less depending on your preference)

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper


  1. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions, ensuring that you add the 2 tablespoons of salt to the water.
  2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the grated zucchini, stir and cook for about one minute then add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes. If it looks somewhat dry, add a few more glugs of olive oil. Continue to cook over medium heat for no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the lemon juice, season to taste and remove from the heat.
  4. Once your pasta is cooked, combine it with your cooked zucchini and serve.


If you want to bulk up this dish, or add a little protein, I like to add a tin of tuna. This pasta is delicious the next day and can be enjoyed cold as a pasta salad; the perfect dish to take to work.

If you are making this dish for more people just increase the amount of pasta and the amount of zucchini you use.



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