Zucchini mushroom pasta is an easy one pan meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes! Penne pasta, zucchini, and mushrooms are tossed in a creamy parmesan herb sauce.
Zucchini mushroom pasta is a simple, one pan meal. Perfect for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table ASAP!
First, you'll add broth, penne pasta, sliced zucchini, and mushrooms to a sauté pan to simmer. Then, you'll add Italian seasoning, garlic, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese to make a delicious cream sauce. With just a few ingredients, you can have this skillet meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This pasta dish has an earthy, mild flavor - it's perfectly comforting and filling. Try pairing with a slice of garlic bread or a side salad.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Broth - Vegetable broth can be substituted with chicken broth or beef broth for a different flavor, if desired.
- Pasta - I used penne pasta, but any medium sized pasta will work in this recipe. Farfalle (bow ties), macaroni, or cavatappi are all great choices as well. Make sure you're measuring out 8 ounces of dried pasta for this recipe. I don't recommend measuring your pasta with measuring cups because it's much less consistent than measuring by weight.
- Zucchini and mushrooms - Zucchini can be substituted with yellow summer squash. Cremini (baby bella) or button mushrooms work well in this recipe.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder add depth of flavor to your skillet meal. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little heat.
- Heavy cream - Heavy cream, whipping cream, or half & half will work in this recipe. Half & half will result in a thinner sauce. I do not recommend using milk, your sauce will turn out very thin.
- Parmesan cheese - I recommend using freshly grated parmesan cheese. Cheese in a canister or bag that has been pre-shredded is often coated in an anti-clumping powder that when melted, can add a grainy texture.
Skillet meal tips and tricks
- It is extremely important to properly measure the liquids and pasta going into this recipe. Because everything is cooked in the same pan, any extra liquid that the pasta doesn't absorb will make your cream sauce runny. This recipe includes exactly enough broth to cook your pasta without making the dish runny.
- If there's a lot of excess broth in the pan, drain some liquid out before adding the heavy cream.
- Sauce still looking runny? Allow it to simmer over medium-low heat for an extra minute or two. Then, remove from the heat and allow the skillet to rest, undisturbed, for five minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
- Adding your vegetables too early can cause them to turn out mushy. This is why I recommend adding the vegetables part of the way through the pasta cooking time. Zucchini and mushrooms only need about 5 minutes to cook with the lid on.
Leftovers and freezing
Leftover zucchini mushroom pasta keeps well in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days. Your sauce may separate upon reheating, so I recommend warming it over medium-low heat on the stove top, or at 50% power in the microwave. Adding a splash of heavy cream while reheating can help bring the sauce back together.
Zucchini Mushroom Pasta
- 18 ounces vegetable broth
- 8 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 small zucchini, sliced into moons
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add vegetable broth and penne pasta. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until al dente according to package directions (for me, this was about 12 minutes). During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add zucchini, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, return lid, and simmer for the last 5 minutes of pasta cooking time.
- Remove lid. Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Cook for about one minute, or until cheese has completely melted.
- Remove from heat and allow to set for five minutes. Sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
- 18 ounces broth = 2 ¼ cups
- Leftovers will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Leftovers reheat well over medium-low heat on the stove top or at 50% power in the microwave. Add a splash of heavy cream as needed to bring the sauce together.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Vegetable broth can be substituted with chicken broth.
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