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Zucchini Butter Spaghetti

Zucchini Butter Spaghetti

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The only way to describe that sauce is magic.

I can’t think of a Smitten Kitchen recipe that has ever steered me wrong, but this one is especially right. It uses a veritable mountain of zucchini but magically turns it into a sauce that’s very nearly creamy in nature (despite there being no cream involved) and full of buttery, rich flavor. It may be full of zucchini, but it doesn’t even register as zucchini because it’s cooked down into something that’s far richer than you could ever imagine a water-filled zucchini to be. And yet it’s just a handful of ingredients and about thirty minutes to make. Pure sorcery.

Serves 2
10m prep time
20m cook time


1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 oz spaghetti
1 cup pasta water, reserved
1 1/4 lbs zucchini, trimmed and coarsely grated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti 1 minute less than package directions indicate. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, before stirring in zucchini, salt, and red pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 13-15 minutes. Zucchini liquid will cook off and then the squash will become concentrated.

Stir frequently for 2 minutes more, using the edge of your spatula to chop mixture down into an almost spreadable consistency.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, then add the drained pasta, and cook for 2 minutes.

Using tongs, pull the zucchini sauce throughout the pasta strands, adding more water as needed to loosen the mixture.

Add half of the parmesan and basil and mix, then transfer to a serving dish. Top with remaining parmesan and basil and enjoy!

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