zucchini-lemon pasta

This dish makes me think of summer, when the zucchini is really cheap at the farmer’s market. It’s been a standard in my house for so long, I’m not sure where the recipe comes from. And like a lot of my favorite recipes, it’s easy to prepare on short notice. You can probably serve it with any type of pasta, but spaghetti works really well.

First you slice up some zucchini. I used 4 medium-sized ones, but you can vary that. More zucchini is a good thing.

Then you saute the zucchini slices in olive oil, garlic, and maybe a little crushed red pepper, if you’d like. And I know people who read my blog love the red pepper.

After a while, the zucchini starts to get soft and caramelized. You have to be patient and let it cook, not just keep tossing it around the whole time. Keep in mind that the zucchini shrinks as it cooks, so even if you start with a full pan, it’s going to get more manageable as you cook. Then the trick is the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Use at least two, or maybe three if you really like lemons (like I do). Squeeze them through a strainer to remove any seeds and stir. Fresh basil is optional but a nice addition. Then toss with the cooked spaghetti. This dish definitely needs some grated Parmesan or Roman cheese to richen it up, and some salt to bring out all of the flavors. I urge you to improvise with this. If it needs more lemon or cheese, just go for it. No meat here, which makes it a nice, light summertime dish.

62 thoughts on “zucchini-lemon pasta

  1. Hi Justin, Thanks for the visit! This sounds and looks delicious! Last year we planted zucchini for the first time and we planted 5 plants. We had enough zucchini to feed a village!This year we planted only one and I will definitely be trying this recipe!

  2. I really appreciate these simple pasta dishes, with fresh ingredients. Truly, with pasta, simpler is better. Fresh zucchini, fresh-squeezed lemon juice… sounds really tasty :)… and economical too!

  3. zoe: thanks for visitingjenn: i have another good "zuke" and pasta dish i make a lot… for another postmary: thanks, Marykaryn: i wish i had room to plant zucchini, and i wish I had a friend like you to give me all their extras!christina: yeah, when the zucchini is dirt cheap in summer, this is a bargain meal for surekerstin: it's all about the lemon juicemorta di fame: ooh, fried zucchini sounds goodmaybelle's mom: oh yeah? now i'm curious.peachkins: yes, pretty light, unless you add a lot of parmesan like I do!steph: it's definitely an easy one

  4. Hey Justin,You should see the zucchini at our famers market in Cincinnati! It is so good this year. It is big and sweet, perfect for your recipe. Have a great weekend.Gin

  5. What a perfect dish for summer, light and easy! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Love zucchini, my favorite thing to do with them is make a zucchini casserole with cream/fontina cheese/breadcrumbs (Giada's verdure al forno recipe), not the lightest dish but really good.

  6. Mmmm…. lemon and zucchini are a great combo. Great simple summer pasta, and I agree with you on the chili. I have a plant on my window sill that's chocka with ripe, red chilis, so in they go to every dish. My tongue is growing an asbestos coating.

  7. phyllis: that casserole sounds goodcucinista: ha, that's pretty funnyhappy cook: thanks for stopping byungourmet: i'm jealous of your gardenkelly: then you're in luck if you try this recipe

  8. nancy: thanksmichelle: yeah, those are awesome, but I don't think they'd work so great in this recipe.erica: thanks for visitingstephchows: yeah, I agreeann: well, the lightness depends on how much cheese you add — definitely to taste

  9. There's more zucch in the market right now than you can shake a spaghetti at!! This pasta looks like a delicious way to use some up!Thanks Justin!

  10. My new favorite zucchini dish is just steamed in the mircowave with a little tomato/onion and…..(get ready for it….) a healthy sprinkle of Salad Supreme. I know, I know…..what the crap? But it's really really good….

  11. barbara: i'm not convinced red pepper would help this dish, but i'd be outvoted by people who visit my blogmurasaki: it's not that hot here yet, but soon I'll be wanting to only make saladscakewardrobe: thanks for visitingbarbara bakes: yeah, I think most kids would be okay with this, because of the lemon, pasta, and parmesanjackie: you're welcome

  12. foodcreate: oh man, my lunches definitely aren't this goodpandalicious: thanks for stopping bykalaivani: yeah, it's a good oneculinary wannabe: yeah, it sounds way better than what I was thinking of eating tonite too!

  13. I'm ready to make this! Thanks for the tip about not stirring the zucchini around; I can't help but toss and fiddle with whatever is in the pan, then wonder why I don't get that same lovely browned, caramelized texture.

  14. Perfect pasta dish for summer and so quick and easy (not to mention healthy and inexpensive). Bet shrimp would be a cool addition, too.

  15. Justin, I just made your zucchini-lemon pasta last night – it was delicious! I squeezed tons of lemon juice on it too. Thanks for the great recipe!

  16. I bought some Lita squash (kind of like zucchini) at the Farmer's Market this weekend and have been thinking of putting it in pasta with some garlic and oil so the flavors will really shine through. You are so right about zucchini being one of the most memorable flavors of summer. Great dish!

  17. I adore lemon and zucchini. I'm tempted to toss in some mushrooms and fresh dill from the garden — or perhaps some lemon thyme… So many possibilities. This looks like a perfect summer pasta!

  18. cassandralee: nice… i almost made this last night but then went with another zucchini dish that was equally yummy, and i still have leftovers tonight!

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