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Creamy Zucchini Pasta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 8 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 479
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, pepper and parmesan cheese.
  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! (hellooo immersion blender!)
  6. Zucchini cream sauce + 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: 479

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 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 and parmesan cheese. 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. Using either a hand held immersion blender or a high speed blender, blend the sauce until mostly smooth. Adjust salt as needed.
  7. Toss sauce with pasta and serve topped with more parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 479
  • Protein 19 g
  • Carbohydrates 49 g
  • Total Fat 23 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0 g
  • Cholesterol 103 mg
  • sodium 684 mg
  • Total Sugars 1 g

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Erin

    Can you freeze the sauce for use later?

    We haven't tried freezing this sauce yet but it should work ok. Make sure to freeze in an airtight container and we recommend fully thawing in the fridge before reheating slowly. Anything with cream you'll want to fully thaw and reheat slowly so it doesn't separate. Hope you enjoy!

  • arctic_viper

    How many zucchinis is 3 cups??

    2-3 depending on the size.

  • Brigitte

    This recipe was soooo good! I made it vegan by subbing in oat milk and vegan cheese. 10/10

    Thanks Brigitte, happy you loved it and so great to hear the vegan substitutes worked well!

  • Renee

    I would give this 10 stars if I could. Made it as written and loved it Decided to bump up the veggies on the second round, so added spinach to blender as well as additional basil. This was a new favorite. Texture was perfect. Also sautee'ed orange bell pepper and added at end with halved cherry tomatoes - Topped with additional parmesan and voila, we have a new family favorite! :) THANK YOU!

    Thank you Renee, we are so happy to hear it's a new favorite!!

  • Tresa

    This recipe is so GOOD! If you're thinking about trying it, do it! I made it for the first time this summer when my mom had a plethora of garden zucchini she shared with me and I'v made it several times since! First couple times I followed the recipe exactly and it was superb! However, I have even subbed coconut milk for the heavy cream for my baby with allergies and skipped the parmesan on his portion and it was still delicious and he gobbled it right up!

    Thanks Tresa, So glad you liked it!

  • Katie Pollock

    Yum!! Such a good recipe. We used short noodles, use whatever you have on hand!

    Yay! So glad to hear!