Easy Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta & Basil

Sharing this easy zucchini pasta today with lots of fresh summer zucchini, lemon, parmesan, a little butter + splash of cream, and topping it with creamy ricotta cheese & fresh basil. It’s a quick-cooking pasta that you can make all summer long. Serve it as a side or make a big bowl of this as your main meal. There’s nothing not to love in here!

Easy Zucchini Pasta

I love making really simple pastas in the summertime that highlight a main fresh produce ingredient. This cherry tomato pasta is always a go-to…same with my favorite creamy corn fettuccine. Both include just a few minimal ingredients that allow the tomatoes and corn shine.

Adding a new recipe to the summer rotation with this easy zucchini pasta!

Easy Zucchini Pasta

easy zucchini pasta – the details

The best part about this is that the sauce essentially comes together in the exact time it takes to cook the pasta. You can use whatever pasta shape you like or have on hand. I love the large rigatoni noodles with the dollops of ricotta cheese, but a longer pasta like linguine would be great as well.

While the pasta is cooking, you’ll quickly saute the zucchini. I like to use a mandolin to thinly shave the zucchini lengthwise, but go ahead and just thinly slice it with a knife if you don’t have one. You just want the zucchini nice and thin so that it cooks quickly. Once it’s got a bit of caramelized color, you’ll build the rest of the sauce right in the pan – a little butter, some heavy cream, and starchy pasta water create the base.

From there, you’ll add your pasta and stir REALLY well while you add the finishing touches – parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth and clings to the pasta. It’s always good to reserve a little extra pasta water than needed just in case you need to loosen up the sauce a bit at the end.

And of course, we’re topping this easy zucchini pasta with ricotta cheese & basil for a fresh, summery finishing touch. Enjoy!


Easy Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta & Basil

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an easy summer pasta dish with quickly sauteed zucchini, parmesan, lemon, ricotta, and basil

servings: 2 (main portions) to 4 (side dish portions)


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • ½ lb rigatoni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 large basil leaves, torn
  • garnishes: freshly cracked black pepper + flaky sea salt + more parmesan


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a heaping pinch of salt. Meanwhile, trim the ends off each zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a mandolin to shave the zucchini thinly (you could also use your knife to thinly slice the zucchini if you don’t have a mandolin).
  2. Drop the rigatoni in the boiling water, stir well, and cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a 12” stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the zucchini. Quickly saute for a few minutes until caramelized and tender, stirring often. Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. Stir in the butter and let melt. Add the heavy cream. Retrieve a ½ cup of starchy pasta water from the pot and add to the pan. Stir well and bring the liquid to a simmer. Simmer for a minute or so until starting to thicken.
  5. Drain the rigatoni and immediately add it to the sauce. Stir continuously as you sprinkle in the parmesan cheese. Stir in the lemon juice. Continue to stir until the parmesan has melted and the sauce clings to the pasta.
  6. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Dollop the ricotta cheese over top. Garnish with the torn basil, freshly cracked black pepper, flakey sea salt, and more parmesan.

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Easy Zucchini Pasta

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