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Melted Zucchini Baked Ziti

This melted zucchini ziti is made with an olive oil zucchini sauce, lots of garlic, fresh basil, ricotta and mozzarella. It's summer perfect!
4.98 from 46 votes
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  • 1 pound ziti pasta, or similar cut noodle
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • cup olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini squash, sliced into rounds or chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, plus extra for topping
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Be sure to reserve the ½ cup of the pasta water after cooking!
  • Heat a large skillet (you can do an oven safe one if you don’t want to transfer) over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini cook down and sort of melt into the pan. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
  • Stir in the reserved pasta water and the pesto. Stir in the fresh basil. By this time the pasta should be finished. You can either add everything to a baking dish or add it all to the skillet if it’s large enough. Toss the pasta with the zucchini pesto mixture - whether it’s in the dish or skillet.
  • Add the ricotta cheese in scoops throughout the pasta. Toss it together until the ricotta coats most of the pasta. Add the fresh mozzarella - a few slices in the noodles and a few on top too.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, just until the cheese melts everything comes together. Remove and serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan and fresh basil for garnish.

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