Drunken Pasta with Vermouth, Breadcrumbs, and Zucchini

Using almost entirely pantry ingredients, this recipe is a great one to have in your repertoire. We discovered it a few months ago and I was immediately intrigued by the use of vermouth, something I always have on hand but typically only use in cocktails. Although it calls for only a few ingredients, this dish is packed with flavor. Between the vermouth, garlic, and red pepper flakes it’ll keep your palate on its toes.

We make this quite often. Sometimes for a quick dinner, occasionally after we’ve come home from a night out with friends. The fact that we can put it together even after having had a few drinks speaks to how easy and fool-proof it is. Always tinkering, the zucchini is the latest addition. Lately I’ve really been enjoying thinly sliced zucchini sautéed simply in butter. It seemed that would be the perfect addition to our old stand-by. Indeed it was. The zucchini gives the dish a hint of brightness, a little green and extra flavor. 

This recipe is easily altered to suit your tastes. Leave out the zucchini if you don’t have any on hand, or try other vegetables in its stead. Do not omit the breadcrumbs, use fresh if possible (just throw some old bread in the food processor), and definitely toast them until nice and crispy. We can take heat, so adjust the red pepper flakes – or leave them out entirely – to make your tongue happy. Although I haven’t tried it with white wine, I suspect that it would make a suitable substitute should you not have vermouth.


Drunken Pasta with Vermouth, Breadcrumbs, and Zucchini
Adapted from Food.com
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small-medium zucchini, thinly sliced into coins
  • ½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan until lightly bubbling. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring occasionally, until nice and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Wipe the sauté pan clean with a paper towel. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and add the garlic and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is soft and ever so lightly browned. Add the red pepper flakes, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Add the vermouth and a splash of the reserved pasta water and allow to come to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs and toss. Taste and season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, or additional parmesan as needed. Serve immediately.



11 thoughts on “Drunken Pasta with Vermouth, Breadcrumbs, and Zucchini

  1. Ruth

    I often get stuck for what to do with a glut of zucchini. Thkis looks like a very good option indeed – one for the recipe file I think! Thanks!

    • Katherine

      It is so simple! It really comes together in the amount of time it takes for the pasta to cook, which is great for weeknights (and late nights).

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