Skip to Content

Pasta Shells with Zucchini, Leeks, and Melted Cheese

Sharing is caring!

Pasta Shells with Zucchini, Leeks, and Melted Cheese

Pasta Shells with Zucchini, Leeks, and Melted Cheese

Jessica Braider
This gem of a recipe is adapted from Cooking for The Cure, a wonderful cookbook created by some families in Bethesda, Maryland, to raise money for cancer research.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 3 leeks white and most of the green parts, thinly sliced
  • 16 oz. small pasta shells (conchiglie) (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed), or use cavatelli
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 zucchini halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, or sage, chopped, or use 1 tsp. dried basil and 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup crumbled goat, feta, or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers or marinated sundried tomatoes, drained and sliced, or use sliced pancetta (optional)


  • Soak the sliced leeks in cold water for a few minutes to remove any remaining dirt that may be clinging to the leaves. Rinse and drain them well.
  • Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions until they are al dente.
  • In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and zucchini and toss them well.
  • Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook them, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until they are very soft.
  • Add the herbs, red pepper flakes (optional), and cheese to the leeks and zucchini and toss thoroughly until the cheese is mostly melted.
  • Add the drained noodles to the skillet, toss thoroughly, season it with salt and pepper, and top it with the peppers, tomatoes, or pancetta (optional). Serve it immediately.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Combine the leeks, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, or pancetta (optional), oil, herbs, and spices in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 – 6 hours or on high for 2 - 3 hours. Add the cheese to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving. Serve it with cooked pasta. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Slice and soak the leeks, cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, halve and slice the zucchini, chop the herbs if using fresh (with the exception of basil, as it will brown), crumble the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, slice the peppers, sundried tomatoes, or pancetta if using and refrigerate the pancetta.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Use the optional red pepper flakes, use the goat or feta cheese and sundried tomatoes or pancetta, and sprinkle the finished dish with hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco.
Tip: Use reusable bags for trips to the grocery store! When using these bags, a safety measure to prevent food poisoning and food borne illnesses, is to designate 1 or 2 bags for meat and poultry, and occasionally wash those bags.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 330, Total Fat: 8g, 12%; Saturated Fat: 3g, 15%; Cholesterol: 10mg, 3%; Sodium: 350mg, 15%; Total Carbohydrate: 54g, 18%; Dietary Fiber: 4g, 16%; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 12g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword 30 Minutes (or less) Meals, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Summer, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop