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!
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Yes. The pasta will be less creamy but zucchini makes it kind of creamy as it falls apart a bit.
Add other vegetables like bell pepper, regular tomato, eggplant, and mushrooms. I would sauté them with onions for the best results.
Yes! Just cook it for less time. Chickpea pasta might add a different flavor to this dish, so be ready for that.
Sure, just use an extra one tablespoon of olive oil when sauteing the vegetables.
More Pasta Recipes to Try
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
One Pot Zucchini Ricotta Pasta with Bacon
- 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
- 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.
- 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.