In light of the immense heat we’ve been experiencing throughout the country, I figured everyone might be craving a light, refreshing meal to wind down the summer. I was in my pool the other day, getting hungry and pondering a summertime dish that was easy to prepare and light in calories.

My wife, Susanna, had some zucchini in the fridge, and I found dried cranberries and walnuts in the pantry, which I thought would be a good complement to the zucchini. The flavors ended up combining perfectly, and the dish was very low-cost. Who needs fast food when you can prepare a meal in 20 minutes for $5?​

You’ll Need:

  • 12 oz. (. box) spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb. (4 to 5) small zucchini, sliced and cut into half-moons
  • 3/4 c. cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan


Cook pasta according to the package directions; drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown (3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to brown (about 1 minute). Add the zucchini and cranberries to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the zucchini is just tender (4 to 5 minutes). Remove spaghetti from the pan with tongs and add to the zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

Chef Bruno is PMQ’s culinary advisor, with 40 years of international pizza experience. He is the corporate chef for Marsal & Sons, and the culinary coach of the U.S. Pizza Team.

Chef Santo Bruno, Food & Ingredients