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Simplest Zucchini Parmesan Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #italian #summerrecipes
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4.3 from 519 votes

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Two of summer's star produce, zucchini and yellow summer squash are caramelized and mashed to create a creamy, buttery pasta sauce without using any cream. This pasta takes just minutes to make and uses the simplest of summertime ingredients, most of which you may have in your pantry right now! If you're looking for a new pasta dinner, this is it. Bonus? This pasta is full of veggies, making it healthy...ish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pasta main course, quick recipe, zucchini recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 336kcal
Author: halfbakedharvest


  • 1 pound pasta, use your favorite cut
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 medium zucchini and or yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • lemon juice, for serving (optional)


  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the zucchini, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the squash is caramelized and golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash down the zucchini until it becomes a chunky sauce. 
    3. Add 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pasta, butter and manchego, toss until melted. Add more pasta water if need to thin the sauce. Remove from the heat, add the basil. Transfer to a bowl and serve topped with fresh basil and lemon . Enjoy!


*If a smooth sauce is desired, transfer the zucchini to a food processor before adding the pasta and puree until smooth. 


Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 15.4mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 1.4mg