One-Pot Creamy Zucchini Pasta

updated Jul 15, 2020
Snapshot Cooking
One-Pot Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Whole-milk ricotta cheese is the secret to this extra-luxe and lemony zucchini pasta.


Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 11 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Close up of one pot creamy zucchini pasta in black skillet
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

This one-pot pasta is rich, creamy, and full of garlicky goodness, but lightened up with bright lemony flavor and a scattering of fresh herbs. As everything simmers together, the zucchini becomes practically silky, melting into the pasta in the most luscious way. It’s just the kind of easy dinner you’ll want to eat from now through September.

Ricotta Is the Secret to the Creamiest One-Pot Pasta

There are a lot of ways to make a pasta creamy. You can add cream of course, or even Greek yogurt, but my very favorite way is to reach for ricotta. When you add a few big spoonfuls of the cheese to the pot, it blends into the cooking water and enrobes the noodles in a rich and velvety sauce. Just be sure to reach for whole-milk ricotta and not part-skim, which can make the sauce grainy.

One-Pot Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Whole-milk ricotta cheese is the secret to this extra-luxe and lemony zucchini pasta.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 11 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    zucchini (about 2 medium)

  • 2 cloves


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 12 ounces

    dried penne pasta

  • 1/2 cup

    whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 1/2 cups


  • Chopped fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cut 1 pound zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Place in a large straight-sided skillet or pot. Mince 4 garlic cloves and add to the skillet. Finely grate the zest and juice 1 medium lemon into the skillet.

  2. Add 12 ounces dried penne pasta, 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 4 1/2 cups water. Stir to combine.

  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the pasta is al dente and almost all the liquid is evaporated, 10 to 11 minutes. Top with chopped fresh basil leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.