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Zucchini pasta

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This zucchini pasta recipe is deliciously creamy, flavored with Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, basil and lemon zest. A pure and simple dinner!


  • 8 ounces spaghetti or bucatini*
  • 1 pound zucchini (2 medium thin zucchini), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
  • 1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko, for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Drain and toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the zucchini and mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini slices. Cover the skillet and cook for 1 minute, then uncover and stir, moving the bottom slices as necessary. Cover again for 1 minute then uncover and stir in 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and onion powder, moving slices to the bottom layer as necessary so that they can get browned. Reduce the heat slightly. Keep the pan uncovered and cook about 6 to 8 more minutes until most of the zucchini are tender and browned, continuing to flip the zucchini and move them to the bottom layer so they cook evenly. Add the minced garlic in the last 1 minute. Then remove from the heat.
  3. In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add a splash of milk and whisk it in: the sauce will instantly turn chunky. Constantly whisking, continue to add splashes of milk until the entire quantity is incorporated and smooth. Increase the heat and continue whisking until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the zucchini and stir in the sauce. If the sauce is sticky, add a splash of milk and stir it in to form a creamy sauce, heating it over medium low heat if necessary. Taste and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  5. To serve, add the garnish (do not omit!): top with chopped basil, breadcrumbs or more grated Parmesan, fresh ground black pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Leftovers store well refrigerated for up to 3 days.


*This recipe also works with short pasta noodles like rigatoni or penne.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta
  • Diet: Vegetarian