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Bring the Taste of Italy Home With This Zesty Zucchini Pasta

Recipe by Athena Calderone. 

Bring the Taste of Italy Home With This Zesty Zucchini Pasta

“This lemon zucchini pasta is summer cooking to the core—no fuss, super fresh, and super simple.” 

– Athena Calderone

Zesty Zucchini, Basil, and Ricotta Mezzi Rigatoni

Serves 4 people


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced

2 shallots halved, thinly sliced

1/2 serrano chili, diced (optional)

Kosher salt

1 lb mezzi rigatoni dried pasta

2 zucchini, sliced into very thin rounds

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup fresh ricotta

1/2 cup pecorino romano grated cheese

bunch of basil, thinly sliced for finishing (mint is a great substitute)


Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta water: drain pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, scallion, shallots, and serrano: cook until softened, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add zucchini: stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. At this point, add lemon zest, juice, and butter. Add pasta, ricotta, and 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir until ricotta melts and liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat: stir in grated cheese. Add more pasta water if needed, a few tablespoons at a time. Divide pasta among individual bowls. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped basil, more pecorino, and lemon zest. 

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