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Creamy Zucchini Pasta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  8 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 555
Creamy Zucchini Pasta Sauce with pasta in a bowl with basil.

Creamy zucchini pasta is our latest favorite way to use up our annual backyard squash deluge.

Creamy Zucchini Pasta—It’s Like Alfredo Sauce, But Slightly More Virtuous

A big bowl of this silky, rich pasta—nope, we don’t mean zoodles! We mean real, carb-o-licious pasta—is really hard to beat. It’s the perfect thing for zucchini season! When the weather is starting to turn and you’re ready for a warming dinner, and at the same time, your (or your neighbor’s) garden boxes are overflowing with too many zucchinis, this creamy zucchini pasta recipe is exactly what you need in your back pocket. We dress up a basic cream sauce with plenty of garlic, Parmesan and fresh basil, making it full of flavors both bright and herbaceous and salty and sharp. If you’ve ever made a cream sauce or alfredo sauce from scratch before, the process for making this will be familiar. And if you’re new to making homemade cream sauce, no worries! It’s not hard to do, and we will walk you through it.

zucchini in a bowl, pasta noodles, cream, salt, parmesan, pepper, basil and garlic ingredients
zucchini, cream, salt, parmesan, pepper, basil and garlic in a pot for creamy pasta sauce
zucchini, cream, salt, parmesan, pepper, basil and garlic in a pot for creamy pasta sauce
zucchini, cream, salt, parmesan, pepper, basil and garlic in a pot for creamy pasta sauce

A Simple Zucchini Pasta With Cream Sauce In Just Seven Ingredients

If you’ve got even the most bare-bones pantry—olive oil, salt, pepper, dried pasta—you’re almost halfway to making this super easy creamy pasta recipe. If you’ve got a generous garden (or a generous neighbor) and have easy access to lots of fresh basil and zucchini, you might even be closer than halfway. In addition to the most basic pantry ingredients, here’s what you’ll need deliciously creamy zucchini pasta:

  • Zucchini
  • Shallots
  • Fresh garlic
  • Parmesan
  • Basil leaves
  • Heavy cream
creamy zucchini sauce in a pot with parmesan cheese
creamy pasta sauce in a pot with pasta noodles

How To Make Creamy Pasta with Zucchini

Unlike an alfredo sauce, this creamy pasta sauce relies only on heavy cream and a little pasta cooking water to make it creamy and help it cling to the pasta—there’s no butter in sight! If you’ve never used pasta cooking water in a recipe before, welcome to the world of deliciously silky sauces that cling to pasta just like they’re supposed to! The starch that comes out of the pasta while it cooks gives the pasta cooking water magical creamy sauce-making powers, and using it is a classic trick! Don’t forget to salt your pasta water, too—that’ll make the pasta cooking water even more magical. Here’s how to make this lovely pasta dinner:

  1. Sauté the zucchini, shallots and, after a couple of minutes, the garlic.
  2. Pour in the heavy cream, basil leaves, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the cream sauce to a very gentle simmer—you never want to boil cream—for about 5 minutes.
  4. Boil the pasta of your choosing—we love to use spaghetti, fusilli or bucatini for this recipe—but don’t forget to save a scoop of the pasta water before you drain it!
  5. Add the pasta water to the zucchini cream sauce and blend!
  6. Zucchini cream sauce + parmesan cheese + pasta = dinner is done! Toss it all together, top with more Parm, and eat up!
creamy zucchini pasta sauce with spiral pasta in a bowl with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

More Ways To Use Up Extra Zucchini

It can feel overwhelming when all of your zucchini is suddenly ready for harvest at the same time. But trust us, it’s a good problem to have! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use up zucchini:

Tools You’ll Need

creamy zucchini pasta sauce with spiral pasta in a bowl with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
creamy zucchini pasta sauce with spiral pasta in a bowl with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Zucchini Bucatini? Zucchini Fettuccine? Zucchini Linguine?

Or all of the above? With a pasta sauce this good, you can’t go wrong. If you make this creamy zucchini pasta recipe, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  8 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 555

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cups diced zucchini, from (2-3 medium)
  • 2 small shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 lb long pasta such as spaghetti, fusilli or bucatini
  • ½ cup pasta water

Method

  1. In a medium sized saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the zucchini and shallots and cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Once vegetables are very soft, add heavy cream, basil leaves, salt, pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. When draining the pasta, be sure to reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
  6. Add pasta water to zucchini sauce. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a high speed blender. Blend sauce until smooth. Transfer the sauce back to the sauce pan and add in Parmesan cheese along with pasta.
  7. Toss until pasta is coated, adding more pasta water if too thick, and serve topped with more parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories555
  • Protein15 g
  • Carbohydrates63 g
  • Total Fat29 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol63 mg
  • sodium212 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Questions & Reviews

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  • Maritza Barrera

    I've had to use dairy free heavy cream in the past in other recipes due to my daughter's food allergy but my sauce isn't as creamy. It's still good but if I wanted to make it creamier should I add more dairy free heavy cream or omit the pasta water?

    Probably omit the pasta water. You don't want to water down the flavor my using too much cream. Hope you enjoy.

  • Samantha Johnson

    Can you freeze this sauce?

    We haven't tried it but it should work ok. We recommend fully thawing before reheating and reheating slowly.

  • Melissa L

    Can I use whole milk instead of heavy cream?

    It probably won't turn out as thick and creamy if you use whole milk.

  • Sam O

    What type of noodles did you use in the picture? They look amazing!

    Fussili!

  • Catherine Quaintance

    What can I use as a dairy free heavy cream substitute?

    We've had people say that canned coconut milk worked for them in this recipe. Silk brand also sells a dairy free heavy cream alternative.

  • Rachel Medvic

    This was so delicious and very easy to make! Even my 2 year old enjoyed it!

    Thank you Rachel, we are so happy you all loved it!

  • Jodine Janzen

    This was SO delicious!
    I added some fresh sweet corn and topped with balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes.
    This will now be in regular rotation.
    Thank you!

    Yay, love to hear when a recipe makes regular rotation. Thanks Jodine, glad you loved it!

  • Amanda

    I added lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice to bring some needed acidity. I also used leeks for half the shallot amount and a bit of dill in addition to the basil.

    Sounds like some yummy additions, glad you enjoyed it Amanda!

  • Maggie Cramer

    Once again, one of your recipes turned out amazing! My entire family gobbled this up! It’s going into the rotation as we work our way through an abundance of zuchinni!

    Thanks Maggie, so happy that you and your family loved it!

  • Christine Green

    So creamy and yummy!

    Thanks Christine, glad you enjoyed it!