Summer Squash Basil Pasta is a creamy, flavorful dish that can be served as a vegetarian dinner or a pasta side dish. This jammy sauteed summer squash basil pasta will make you crave more. When squash is in season, it’s great to find a recipe that’s unique and full of flavor. Summer Squash Basil Pasta is an easy to make pasta recipe that is perfect for the summer months when squash and basil are at their freshest and best prices.


Although, Summer Squash and Basil Pasta is a refreshing vegetarian dish. You could always add chopped rotisserie chicken to your pasta for an extra boost of protein. There’s a world of squashes out there, and any type of squash would work just nice for this recipe! 

How To Make Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

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This jammy sauteed summer squash basil pasta will make you crave more. When squash is in season, it’s great to find a recipe that’s unique and full of flavor.
20 mins
45 mins
1 hr 5 mins


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds of summer squash quartered lengthwise sliced
  • 2 pounds of zucchini quartered lengthwise sliced
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper


  • To begin, you will need to quarter lengthwise, 2 pounds of zucchini and slice into small pieces.
  • Next, peel and clean 2 pounds of your choice of summer squash. Quarter lengthwise, making sure to cut the squash the same size as the zucchini. This will help cook your vegetables evenly.
  • In a large pot, simmer water with olive oil. This will ensure that your pasta doesn't stick.
  • Next, add salt to your boiling water and drop in 12 ounces of penne pasta. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until al-dente. Strain in a colander and set aside. Save your pasta water for later.
  • In a heated skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Throw in 8 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and stir constantly making sure to not burn the garlic.
  • Now, add your summer squash to the skillet and stir occasionally for 12-15 minutes. You will know it’s ready when the squash is jammy and soft.
  • Next, throw in your sliced zucchini and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Cayenne is a moderately hot chilli, so if you would like something milder you can always use 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper instead.
  • Stir mixture till the cayenne pepper has been fully incorporated into the dish. Allow to cook till zucchini is a little soft to touch.
  • Add in your al-dente pasta and stir mixture until fully coated with ingredients.
  • In stages, add ½ a cup of pasta water and stir well to cook evenly.
  • Stir mixture, adding ½ a cup of parmesan cheese in stages. Add more pasta cooking water and mix well again. Keep repeating this step until your pasta is coated well in sauce.
  • Once fully coated with sauce, throw in ½ a cup of basil leaves and allow the flavors to marry. The basil leaves will perfume the pasta adding a unique depth of flavor to your dish.
  • Now, to enhance the flavors, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir your pasta for one last time.
  • Finish with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 776IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 1mg


Commonly Asked Questions

How do you cook pasta perfectly all the time?

Cooking pasta perfectly depends on the type of pasta being used for your dish. In this case penne pasta would take more than 10 minutes to cook.

What is al dente?

The literal translation of the Italian phrase al dente means “to the teeth”. It indicates how cooked your pasta is. Al dente pasta should be slightly firm and chewy, but not soft or mushy.

How to pick the best looking zucchini’s?

You can pick up beautiful ones at a farmers market. Look for squash that’s small just 6 to 8-inches in length and still relatively thin. The zucchini should feel heavy for its size. The skin should be dark green and smooth and free of blemishes. If the skin looks slightly shriveled, it probably hasn’t been freshly picked.

What to look for when selecting the right squash?

When selecting squash at a produce store, look for smaller squash that are brightly colored and free of spots, bruises, and mold. Smaller squash are known for their flavor. However, they are not known for their longevity. Summer squash only keeps for a few days; store it in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

What can I use instead of penne pasta?

Any tube-shaped pasta can be used instead of penne rigate, as they’re all types of macaroni. These include mostaccioli, 2-inch-long, smooth or ridged tubes that resemble penne; rigatoni, which are broader than penne and cut straight rather than diagonally; and ziti, long thin smooth or ridged tubes with blunt ends.

Can I substitute penne for rigatoni?

Certainly! Rigatoni is a hearty, tube shaped pasta with ridges on the outside which help the sauce adhere to the noodles. Rigatoni holds up well to thicker sauces such as cream sauces or chunky tomato sauces.

Main Dish


This Summer Squash and Basil Pasta is so simple and versatile to make, you will definitely be looking forward to making the next meal with whatever vegetables you have in your kitchen. This simple recipe requires a fast saute of the squash with shallots and garlic. The penne is cooked, drained and returned to the pot, and the squash mixture is added along with Parmesan cheese. It’s simple and fast!