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.