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Hand twirling courgette fettuccine in a small white bowl with pasta in a pan in the background.

Courgette (Zucchini) and Lemon Pasta

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A handful of simple ingredients combine to make this light, fresh, very summery pasta. Just cook sliced courgettes – or zucchini – with garlic, lemon and chilli and watch them break down into a luscious sauce with no need for cream. It’s speedy enough for weeknights and special enough for date nights or entertaining.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 courgettes (zucchini)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (plus more for the pasta cooking water)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 400g/14oz pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Black pepper


  1. Cook the courgettes. Thinly slice your courgettes and garlic cloves, then set a high-sided skillet or frying pan over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the sliced courgettes, 1 teaspoon of salt, sliced garlic and 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, until the courgettes are super soft and starting to break down. This will take about 15 minutes.
  2. Cook your pasta. You can do this while the courgettes are cooking. Set a large pot of water over high heat (you want the pot about 2/3 full of water). Add a good amount of salt (at least 1 tablespoon) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta and cook it according to your packet instructions. Depending on the pasta you use, this will take around 8 to 10 minutes. PRO TIP: If you’re using fresh pasta, this only takes a couple of minutes to cook, so wait until your courgettes are ready before you cook it.
  3. Toss the pasta with the courgettes. Once your pasta is al dente (cooked, with a little bite to it), use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer it directly into the pan with the courgettes, along with ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss the pasta through the courgettes, then scatter the finely grated parmesan, half the basil and mint, and the lemon zest on top. Leave it for 30 seconds so that the parmesan can start to melt into the sauce, then toss again to create a creamy, luxurious sauce. Finish with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper, then toss again. PRO TIP: Remember that as it sits, the pasta will continue to absorb water, so I always make sure my pasta in the pan is saucier than I’d like it – by the time you transfer it to plates, garnish and serve, you’ll find it’s at the perfect consistency. Add a little more pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce up.
  4. Garnish and serve. Divide the pasta between plates and top with the remaining basil and mint, along with more parmesan and a good grind of black pepper. Serve right away.


STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: This pasta is best served right away – you can reheat it (either in the microwave or on the stovetop) but the pasta will continue to absorb the liquid from the sauce and the texture won’t be quite the same. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

INGREDIENT NOTES: Vary the amount of garlic and chilli here if you like – depending on your taste. You can use any pasta shape you like – I’m using fettuccine here but another long shape like spaghetti or linguine works well, as do short shapes like penne, rigatoni, orecchiette or fusilli. Ideally, use a fresh lemon, but if you don’t have one or can’t find one, bottled lemon juice will do.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: I love to serve this pasta with some lovely fresh bread on the side – try it with my easy no-knead chilli oil focaccia, or no-knead rosemary parmesan bread.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 100g

Keywords: zucchini pasta