Creamy Zucchini Ricotta Pasta is the perfect summer mix of garden veggies, rich cheese, bacon, and fresh herbs. Make this easy one pot meal any night of the week!

Some of our other favorite summer meals are pasta with zucchini and tomatoes and caprese pasta.

One pot zucchini ricotta pasta with bacon garnished with basil.

I created this zucchini ricotta pasta recipe on a hot summer night when turning on the oven was the last thing I wanted, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!

My boys have even named this summer zucchini pasta as their new favorite pasta dinner recipe, and I agree. It’s very fresh, filling, and a perfect summer dinner with a glass of chilled white wine or rose!

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • One pot: For fuss-free, hands off cooking.
  • Quick and easy: Not a 30 minute meal but it’s incredibly easy to throw together and on your table in about 45 minutes.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Enjoy a cozy bowl of pasta for lunch or dinner, whip it together on a busy weeknight, or treat family and friends to a very tasty, indulgent meal.
  • Versatile: You can add almost anything to pasta with bacon! Use up your garden’s bounty of veggies, toss in shredded chicken for more protein, add spice with red pepper flakes, or add fresh lemon juice at the end for a bright burst of flavor.

Ingredients for Zucchini Ricotta Pasta

Zucchini ricotta pasta uses simple and fresh ingredients including pasta, veggies, and protein.

Pasta, grape tomatoes, smoked gouda cheese, Italian seasoning, broth, zucchini, basil, onion, garlic, salt, bacon, ricotta, pepper and olive oil.
  • Bacon: I used 8 slices of regular bacon. The bacon drippings also add rich taste to the delicious pasta sauce but we won’t use all of them, don’t worry.
  • Oil: I recommend extra-virgin olive oil, it is healthy and popular in pasta recipes. You can also use any oil of choice.
  • Onion and garlic: White onion and fresh garlic cloves are sautéed with the oil to build flavor.
  • Vegetables: Chopped zucchini and cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
  • Pasta: Use any short pasta like penne, corkscrew, or bow ties. You can also use gluten-free pasta or whole wheat pasta and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Vegetable broth: Low sodium broth creates the best sauce and best to use for this recipe because bacon has a higher salt content.
  • Ricotta cheese: Use low fat ricotta cheese because there is already a lot of fat in this dish. Don’t worry, you won’t notice.
  • Cheese: Adds flavor and creamy texture. I had smoked gouda but shredded mozzarella cheese would be good too.
  • Seasoning: Pasta with ricotta is full of rich flavors. I kept the seasoning simple with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Fresh basil: A popular Italian herb that tastes like summer.

How to Make One Pot Zucchini Ricotta Pasta with Bacon

Here’s an overview of how to make zucchini ricotta pasta in just one pot. There is also a full recipe card below.

Step by step process how to saute bacon, onion and add pasta and zucchini to it.
  • Cook bacon: Add chopped bacon to a preheated large Dutch oven or pot. Cook on medium heat until crispy, then transfer bacon to a plate and set aside. In a small bowl, drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Later you want to discard solidified bacon fat.
  • Sauté aromatics: In the same pot, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Italian seasoning and sauté for another 30 seconds.
  • Add pasta and zucchini: To the large pot, add zucchini and pasta, then stir to coat.
Step by step process how to cook zucchini ricotta pasta with bacon in one pot.
  • Cook pasta: Add in the broth, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-8 minutes for al dente pasta, stirring a few times.
  • Finish the pasta: Turn off heat and leave the pot on the same burner. Add previously cooked bacon, ricotta cheese, gouda cheese, tomatoes and basil. You can save some cheese and basil for garnishing, if you’d like. Gently stir the pasta until combined and cheese melts, it should be creamy.
  • Garnish and serve: Garnish to your liking and serve this summery pasta hot.

Tips for Best Results

Here are some good quality tips for one pot zucchini ricotta pasta with bacon.

  • Use pasta with crevices: Short, textured pasta holds the creamy sauce better than longer noodles because it can make its way into all the crevices.
  • Add flavorful cheese: Cheese is my favorite addition to pasta! Add parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, Havarti, or Swiss cheese for more flavor.
  • Substitute ricotta with cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is all the hype right now, this pasta dish will be just as creamy with low fat cottage cheese.
  • Don’t overcook pasta: The key to the perfect pasta is cooking it al dente. Overcooked pasta will get soggy.
  • Stir pasta while cooking: To prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Using leftover bacon: If you made baked bacon in the oven, you can use that. And if you didn’t save bacon fat, just use extra virgin olive oil instead.
Close up of pasta with ricotta, bacon, zucchini, grape tomatoes, basil on a wooden spoon above the pot.

What to Serve Zucchini Ricotta Pasta with?

A big bowl of zucchini ricotta pasta is a satisfying and filling meal on its own, and the perfect weeknight meal when life is crazy busy.

If you would like to add something small, a basket of crusty bread, leafy greens like spring mix salad or baby kale salad, or garlic green beans make great side dishes.

Or serve the pasta as the side dish alongside a simple protein such as pan fried chicken breast or grilled shrimp skewers.

How to Store

Store: Transfer cooled pasta leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Reheat by adding it to a pot with a splash of water and simmer on low.

Freeze: Pasta generally does not freeze well so I do not recommend freezing this dish.

FAQs

Can I omit ricotta cheese?

Yes. The pasta will be less creamy but zucchini makes it kind of creamy as it falls apart a bit.

What else can I add to this pasta dish?

Add other vegetables like bell pepper, regular tomato, eggplant, and mushrooms. I would sauté them with onions for the best results.

Can I use gluten free pasta?

Yes! Just cook it for less time. Chickpea pasta might add a different flavor to this dish, so be ready for that.

Can I omit bacon?

Sure, just use an extra one tablespoon of olive oil when sauteing the vegetables.

More Pasta Recipes to Try

More One Pot Pasta Recipes

Zucchini ricotta pasta with grape tomatoes served on white plate with golden fork.
One pot zucchini ricotta pasta with bacon garnished with basil.

One Pot Zucchini Ricotta Pasta with Bacon

Creamy Zucchini Ricotta Pasta is the perfect summer mix of garden veggies, rich cheese, bacon, and fresh herbs. Easy one pot meal!
5 from 6 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 724
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 slices bacon coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 large zucchini coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound pasta like penne, corcscrew or bow ties
  • 4 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces low fat ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups gouda cheese or mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat large Dutch oven on medium heat, add bacon and cook until crispy. Transfer bacon on plate and set aside. In a small bowl, drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.
  • Return pot on the stove and add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Italian seasoning and saute for 30 more seconds, stirring often.
  • Add zucchini and pasta and stir to coat. Add broth, salt and pepper; stir, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer pasta for 5-8 minutes or until al dente, stirring a few times.
  • Turn off heat. Add previously cooked bacon, ricotta cheese, gouda cheese, grape tomatoes and basil. Gently stir pasta. It should be creamy. You can also save some cheese and basil for garnishing at the end.
  • Serve immediately with more cheese and basil, red pepper flakes and crusty bread, if desired.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate pasta leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To reheat, add to a pot with a splash of water and simmer on low.
  • Freeze: Do not freeze. Pasta generally does not freeze well.

Nutrition

Calories: 724kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 766mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and the meal came together so easily. Family loved it. Great way to use the zucchini in the garden! I will be making this again!

    Love your content Olena!!

  2. 5 stars
    On my goodness what a wonderful meal this makes. Full of fantastic flavours. Love all your pasta dishes, so easy to make. Pasta never boring anymore as you give a lot of variety. Thank you Olena. 🍅🧀😋

    1. My pleasure, Elizabeth! I just love all of the summer flavors in this super easy one pot dish. With a glass of wine it’s summer perfection. No need for a restaurant. So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

    1. Isn’t it amazing?! I’m so glad you gave this ricotta zucchini pasta a go! We love it too, I just need to take breaks in between making it so I don’t gain weight haha. Everything in moderation.

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