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4 Ingredient Zucchini Pasta

  • Author: Gianna Nebbia
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 as a mian; 4 as a side 1x
  • Category: Pasta, 4 ingredient meals
  • Method: pasta water
  • Cuisine: Italian


A wildly easy to make Zucchini Pasta dish with flavors of lemon and garlic. 


  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/8 inch half moons
  • 1/2 pound of short pasta (fusilli, penne, or rigatoni work great)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • The juice of 1 lemon and the zest of half of the lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (plus more to salt the pasta water)


  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium or large pot and salt it with kosher salt until it's about as salty as soup.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a 3 quart skillet over medium heat. (if you have small burners, use medium-high heat) Once hot, add all the zucchini slices and allow them to develop some color for 3 minutes without stirring. Then continue to sauté, stirring occasionally for another 6 minutes, or until the zucchini are more deeply golden brown all over and have a more jammy consistency.

  3. Once the zucchini are jammy and soft, add the garlic slices, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Drop the pasta in the water at this point too.
  4. Finally, add the lemon juice and let it mostly evaporate. Reduce it to low heat or turn off the heat entirely until the pasta is cooked to al dente, so you don't over-cook or burn the zucchini. When the pasta is ready, turn the heat back on, transfer the al dente pasta to the zucchini using a spider or slotted spoon, and add 3/4 of a cup of the pasta water from the pot. Toss it all to combine. 

  5. Serve immediately in warm bowls. Top with crushed red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and/or fresh black pepper if desired.

Keywords: 4 ingredient zucchini pasta, zucchini pasta recipe