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Pasta con zucchini on a beige plate.

Pasta Con Zucchini with Ricotta and Parmesan

  • Author: Laurel Perry
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Pasta Con Zucchini – an easy traditional Italian pasta with seasonal zucchini, ricotta, parmesan, and penne. Gluten free & vegan adaptable.


Units Scale
  • 12 oz penne
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil , divided
  • 2 large or 4 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional


Cook your pasta according to the package directions, leaving it al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. You may need it later to bring the sauce together.

Heat half of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the zucchini, fry until the bottom side is golden, about 3-5 minutes then flip. Season the top with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the second side is golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. You may need to cook the zucchini in two batches. Add more oil to the pan between batches if needed.

To the pan, add the remaining oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 minute until fragrant. Turn off the heat.

Add the pasta, lemon, and ricotta to the pan. Toss until creamy, adding in a splash of pasta water if needed. Stir in the zucchini and top with parmesan cheese and parsley.


Pasta: You can use traditional or gluten free pasta. Penne is called for but other shapes like fussili, or rigatoni work well. 

Ricotta: use traditional or vegan. For vegan I like Kite Hill for store bought, and this easy almond ricotta for homemade.

Parmesan: use traditional or make your own vegan parmesan.

Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving. Freezing is not recommended. 


  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe (with dairy cheeses)
  • Calories: 465
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 149mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 55g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Cholesterol: 77mg

Keywords: penne, ricotta, parmesan, squash, lemon, garlic, parsley, easy, one pot, spring, summer,