Go Back
+ servings
Creamy zucchini pasta topped with fresh basil and lemon zest on a white plate with a gold fork.

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Keyword: creamy zucchini pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 456kcal
This creamy zucchini pasta gets a bit of zip from fresh lemon juice and zest. The simple sauce is made with mascarpone and parmesan cheeses.
Print Recipe


  • 2 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 pound pasta linguine, spaghetti, or penne
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese about 2.5 ounces
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of two lemons
  • fresh basil
  • kosher salt


  • Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once boiling, add salt until it "tastes like the sea" then add the pasta.
  • Slice the zucchini into batons or matchsticks. See tips below.
  • Use a microplane grater to grate the lemon zest. Then squeeze the juice and set aside.
  • Place a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and once it's shimmering, add the zucchini to the pan and season with salt. Cook the zucchini until just softened and still bright green, don't let it take on any color. (It will continue to cook in the sauce.)
  • When the pasta is just shy of al dente, use tongs to transfer it directly into the skillet with the zucchini. Scoop out about ½ cup of the pasta water and add to the skillet, turn the heat up to medium. Stir in the mascarpone until completely melted.
  • Add the parmesan cheese, continue stirring until it melts into the sauce that's forming with the pasta water and mascarpone. When some of the pasta water has been absorbed, all cheese is melted and the sauce has gotten creamy, stir in the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Transfer to serving dishes and top with fresh basil, and more lemon zest if desired.


  • When slicing the zucchini, you can do thinner matchsticks or thicker batons. It's easier to keep it from overcooking if they are a bit thicker. You could even do half moons. Keep in mind that the center, seedy part will virtually disintegrate if you cut it into very thin strips.
  • If you can't find mascarpone, substitute heavy cream. 
  • We are not draining the pasta! We need the water clinging to the noodles as well as some of the pasta water to form the sauce. Easy-peasy and less dishes and hassle!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure policy here.


Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1059mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1872IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 334mg | Iron: 2mg