This Italian Summer Pasta with Freshly Grated Zucchini is so flavorful and creamy. You would have no idea there isn't any cheese or cream in it! The broken-down cherry tomatoes and zucchini make for an easy AND flavorful pasta dish.
This is our first recipe ever on our page! We developed this summer zucchini pasta in 2022 specifically for our first post on Always From Scratch. This recipe has been republished and changed to make it even more delicious and user-friendly!
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
The key to this dish is SIMPLE ingredients.
Bucatini. I didn't mean to make this a dish for bucatini but during a recipe test, I used some bucatini just to clean out my cupboard and it was perfect. The sauce is so thin and it goes right through the whole of the pasta. I absolutely recommend bucatini but if not, spaghetti works well, and for shorter pasta, I would use rigatoni or penne.
Zucchini. Grated zucchini works the best. When we originally created this dish, we would slice the zucchini and fry it. Grating allows the water to release and helps develop the sauce
Cherry tomatoes. People often substitute grape tomatoes for cherry tomatoes because they're cheaper...DON'T do that, please. The grape tomatoes won't break down as well and the sauce will not taste the same.
This pasta comes together so easily. It is extremely forgiving. You can have this on the table in under 45 minutes.
Grate the zucchini
Start by grating the zucchini with a cheese grater. The smaller the better for this recipe. It'll make it easier to break it down in the sauce. See the picture below for reference.
Add olive oil to a pan and bring to medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Then add in the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally until the cherry tomatoes begin to break down and the zucchini softens. Add the salt.
The zucchini will eventually begin to break down and become part of the sauce after 10-15 minutes of simmering. Be patient.
Don't smash the tomatoes, just gently stir until they break down on their own. If you smash them up, you won't know when they are actually cooked through.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water. Add bucatini and boil until al dente. Make sure to save 1 cup of pasta water.
Finishing the sauce
Add ½ cup of pasta water to the sauce. Allow it to continue simmering for another 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to redden. Add the capers and basil and stir. You can see in the picture below on the left that the tomato skins have started separtating and even more so on the right as the sauce begins to redden.
Once the bucatini is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. Add another ½ cup of pasta water right before you add the pasta back to the sauce.
Stir the pasta well with the sauce and let the sauce cook for 1 more minute for the pasta to absorb it. Take the pasta off the heat.
Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh pepper if you like! This pasta is so flavorful on its own, that you may not even want cheese.
- Save extra pasta water in case you cook the sauce too hot or fast, you can always add pasta water to help increase the volume of the sauce again.
- Use fresh zucchini. The older the zucchini gets the less water content. The sauce won't have as much liquid.
Yes, you can grate zucchini in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Also, you can freeze it in batches in airtight containers to make it last longer if you have lots of zucchini.
Add the pasta to a pan on medium heat with a little olive oil. Stir until warmed through. Add a little extra water if it feels dry.
Our Favorite Summer Pasta!
Looking for more light pasta recipes to make this summer? Try some of these delicious and easy recipes!
If you LOVED this recipe, please leave a rating and comment below in the recipe card! It is so helpful to understand what the readers like about our recipes! Follow us on Instagram @vindelgiudice or Tiktok @alwaysfromscratch
Italian Summer Pasta with Zucchini
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 4-6 oz sauce pot
- 1 lb bucatini
- 7 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 zucchini
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 juice of a whole lemon
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 3 tablespoon capers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pasta water Take this from the pot before you finish boiling pasta
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Use a cheese grater to grate zucchini down. I try to use the smaller of the two holes offered.
- Add olive oil to a pan and bring to medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant about 30 seconds to a minute. Then add in the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally until the cherry tomatoes break down and the zucchini softens. The zucchini will eventually begin to break down and become part of the sauce after 10 minutes of simmering.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to water for taste. Add bucatini and boil until al dente. Save 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add ½ cup of pasta water to the sauce. Allow it to continue simmering for another 5 minutes. Add capers and basil and stir. Once the bucatini is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. Add another ½ cup of pasta water right before you add the pasta back to the sauce.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh pepper!
- Don't forget to save some of your pasta water when you strain your pasta
- Stir the sauce often when it is reducing to avoid burning.
- Stir in the basil at the end to get the most flavor.