For the perfect summer dinner try fried courgette pasta! A creamy tomato pasta with sweet and tender fried courgette.
Roasted vegetables bring so much flavour to pasta, like this Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower Pasta with Pesto.
One of the best things about pasta is how it can be both a comfort food for cold weather or the perfect dish when things warm up. It is a welcome addition to the dinner table in any season!
But I really get excited when summer comes. ‘Tis the season for fresh vegetables, which bring out some of my favourite flavours and adds a refreshing lightness to all sorts of dishes.
This fried courgette pasta is one of my favourite ways to bring together pasta and seasonal vegetables. It is light and fresh while still creamy and satisfying. Perfection!
Creamy tomato pasta sauce
Usually when we think of smooth pasta sauces we imagine a lot of cream. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
One of my favourite things about this pasta sauces is that it is beautifully creamy but made with a tomato base. This means that it is silky smooth but has the freshness of tomato.
The trick here is adding ricotta. Ricotta cheese melts into the sauce to leave it creamy and rich, but never stodgy. It is also relatively low in calories, at least compared to other cheese, so no guilt with this meal!
To make the sauce, all you need to do is add the garlic, tomato passata, basil and oregano to a pan with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer and let it go for 10 minutes. Do this while the pasta is boiling.
When time is up, drop in the ricotta and give it a stir. Taste and add salt if it seems to need it. Because of the texture of ricotta, the sauce may be slightly grainy, but it won’t be any less flavourful or satisfying!
I’m a huge fan of courgette (or zucchini if you are in North America) any time of the year, but it is at its stunning best when in season. Although, what isn’t?
Fried zucchini is quite simple, and only takes a bit of oil and salt and about four minutes. I prefer using an air fryer because it needs much less oil, even if it needs more time.
One of the keys is cutting the zucchini into the right sizes. If cut too small they lose their sturdiness. Stick to pieces about a quarter of an inch for the best results.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Zucchini can be fried in a pan with a little bit of oil, which will take about 4 minutes. Or you can use an air fryer, which uses only a fraction of the oil but takes about 10 minutes.
- Be careful not to cut the zucchini smaller than a quarter inch or they get too flimsy and watery. They lose their sturdiness if cut too small.
- I used fusilli for this recipe because the grooves hold the sauce and make it more flavourful. While other shapes will work just fine, the sauce is not held as well if the shape is smooth. Shapes that are tubes like rigatoni or penne are also good as the sauce goes inside the pasta.
- Ricotta adds creaminess without extra fat like double cream. It also adds protein to the dish. The sauce will be a little grainy because of the texture of ricotta, but will still be creamy and delicious.
- 1 lbs fusilli or other short pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 courgette/zucchini, sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- 500ml/2 cups tomato passata/ crushed tomatoes
- 4-5 basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 250 ml/1 cup ricotta cheese
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile slice the zucchini in ¼ inch thick slices, half or quarter them depending on size and preference. Add the olive oil to a large pan and cook the zucchini for 2-3 minutes until golden on both sides, then sprinkle with some salt. Remove from a pan and set aside. Alternatively you can cook zucchini in your air fryer at 200C/400 for 10 minutes.
- To the same pan add minced garlic, tomato passata, chopped or sliced basil leaves and dried oregano with a pinch of salt and sugar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, stir in the ricotta, taste and add more salt if needed.
- To the same pan, add the drained pasta together with the cooked zucchini, toss gently combine. Serve with grated vegetarian hard cheese.
Most short pasta shapes can be used for this recipe. I used fusilli because the grooves hold the sauce so well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 182mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g