Baked Zucchini and Ricotta Pasta
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
Penne pasta baked with bites of zucchini and ricotta cheese in a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce studded with mozzarella. Perfect enough for a summer meal and easy enough for a busy weeknight.
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • sea kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ⅓ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (from a wedge), plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (just the yellow layer not the white pith)
  • 2 - 3 cups cubed zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 15 ounces Ricotta cheese, divided
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and toss with a pat of butter or a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9x9-inch baking or casserole pan.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion, bell pepper and garlic with a couple dashes each of salt and pepper until softened about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Melt in the butter then stir in the flour and cook 2 - 3 minutes stirring often.
  4. Slowly stir in the milk. Turn the heat up slightly and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 - 4 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Stir in the Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon salt plus ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Stir the pasta, the sauce, 1 cup of the ricotta, the mozzarella and zucchini together.
  7. Spoon it into the casserole dish and dollop spoonfuls of the remaining ricotta on top.
  8. Bake 25 minutes. Serve with more Parmesan cheese on top.
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