The Best Zucchini Summer Pasta

Caramelized zucchini is garnished with Parmesan, basil, chili flakes, and breadcrumbs for a satisfying dish bursting with summer flavor.

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Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez

Zucchini are abundant in the summer, making them a versatile ingredient for many dishes. This zucchini summer pasta is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this seasonal vegetable!


The key to this dish is cooking the zucchini in layers in a pan to achieve a perfect caramelization, which adds richness and depth of flavor. This pairs wonderfully with fragrant basil, savory Parmigiano, and a hint of heat from chili flakes. The toasted breadcrumbs add a delightful crunch and savory texture.

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Whether you're hosting a summer dinner party or enjoying a weeknight meal, this dish is sure to impress and satisfy everyone at the table!

Video: Zucchini Summer Pasta

Quick Recipe Overview

SERVINGS:‌ 8-10 people

TIME:‌ 45 minutes

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 lb. linguini

  • 4 small to medium zucchini, sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (or similar)

  • 1 tsp. chili flakes

  • 5–7 basil leaves

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez


When it comes to picking the perfect zucchini, a small to medium size is better for flavor and texture. If you're growing them in your garden, pluck them when they're about 6 to 8 inches. In stores, look for firm zucchini with vibrant green skin and no blemishes or soft spots. Larger zucchini often have less flavor, making them less desirable for cooking.

1. Prepare the breadcrumbs

Boil a pot of heavily salted water. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and toast the breadcrumbs. Once browned (after about 5 minutes), set the breadcrumbs aside on a plate.


Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez

2. Prepare the zucchini

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the same pan and once hot, add a single layer of sliced zucchini. Let them cook untouched until caramelized and then flip and cook the other sides (about 7 to 10 minutes), then transfer them to a plate. The goal is to achieve a golden brown color on the zucchini slices. Repeat 2 to 3 times to brown the remaining zucchini. Once the all the zucchini is cooked, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.


Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez

3. Cook the pasta

While the zucchini and garlic are cooking, add the linguini to the boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the package (about 8 to 10 minutes), so the pasta is al dente (meaning there should be a slight bite to your noodle since it will cook some more in the pan).



Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez

4. Toss and serve

Transfer the pasta from the pot straight into the pan with the zucchini, and add 1/4 cup of pasta water. Sprinkle with 1 cup grated Parmigiano. Gently toss the pasta with tongs to mix well. Garnish with basil, chili flakes, black pepper, and more Parmigiano to taste. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Enjoy!


Image Credit: Isabelle Lopez

If you're looking for another summer pasta dish, check out this easy caprese orzo pasta recipe!