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Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Shredded zucchini, shredded summer squash, and fresh basil pesto make the ultimate 30-minute summer pasta dish, wonderful for a weeknight dinner.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword Zucchini Pasta Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 645kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.12


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (~3 cloves)
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion (~1 medium onion)
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (~2 small zucchinis)
  • 1 cup grated summer squash (~1 small squash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: paprika, fine sea salt, fresh cracked pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (See Note 1)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 10 ounces thin spaghetti NOT the whole package
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil pesto (See Note 2)
  • For topping: extra Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs like fresh basil or Italian parsley


  • PREP: This dish goes quickly once it's started, so shred the zucchini and summer squash ahead of time. Grate both on the large holes of a cheese grater. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and we're ready to start!
  • PASTA: Bring a large pot of water to the boil with 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, subtracting 2 minutes (the pasta will finish cooking later). Drain the pasta and set aside (don't run it under cold water).
  • ONION AND GARLIC: While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a very large skillet or large pot over medium high heat (we'll add the pasta into this pan later, so use a big one). Once butter is mostly melted, add in the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is becoming golden, about 3-4 minutes.
  • ZUCCHINI AND SQUASH: Add the shredded zucchini and squash. Stir over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon of each -- salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed and veggies are tender.
  • CREAM AND CHEESE: Add in the chicken stock, heavy cream, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and frozen corn. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  • PASTA: Add in the hot drained pasta and toss vigorously for 2-3 minutes, over medium heat, with tongs or two kitchen spoons. Continue to toss until the pasta is well coated and the sauce thickens. Once pasta is well coated, add in the pesto and toss again to combine. Taste and adjust, adding more salt and pepper, if needed. Add an extra splash of heavy cream, chicken stock, or pesto to thin the sauce a bit if desired.
  • SERVE: Serve immediately garnished with fresh herbs and add additional parmesan to each plate.



Note 1: Grate Parmesan cheese on a microplane. A microplane gives the Parmesan an amazing, super-light texture. It melts beautifully into the sauce and makes for a wonderful garnish.
Note 2: You’ll find fresh pesto near the fresh (not dried) pasta or in the produce section of the store. My absolute favorite in this Zucchini Pasta Sauce is Rana’s® Basil Pesto (not sponsored).


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 72.8g | Protein: 19.7g | Fat: 31.8g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 396.1mg | Fiber: 5.3g | Sugar: 9g