Summer dinners aren’t just about grilling, and this Summer Vegetable Ricotta Pesto Pasta proves it! Fresh zucchini, tomatoes, and basil pesto team up with creamy ricotta and your favorite pasta in a dreamy summer dinner that’s perfect for date night!
This post is sponsored by J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, but all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands we love that make this blog possible!
Does anyone besides me have to be in a certain mood to eat a particular food? For me, there is one only food I never have an issue eating: pasta.
Seriously, I’ll skip meals all day for a giant bowl of noodles for dinner. Thanks goodness I have no problems with gluten, because I’m not sure I could give it up.
From the simple buttered noodles of my childhood to dishes like this slightly more complex Summer Vegetable Ricotta Pesto Pasta, I’ll eat it all.
Especially when it’s covered in ricotta pesto. Oh. Em. Gee.
This Summer Vegetable Ricotta Pesto Pasta is the best weekday date night dinner you can imagine!
I mean it. This recipe covers all the bases.
It’s quick to throw together – think 30 minutes quick. So even after a long day at work, you can enjoy something fancy with your honey with little effort.
It utilizes all that delicious summer produce you’ve been eyeing/frantically picking from your garden. Zucchini, squash, sweet onions, tomatoes, and plenty of basil go into this dish.
Even after a hot summer day, this light pesto pasta recipe is easy to enjoy outdoors. Even though it’s pasta, it won’t weigh you down and make you feel bleh.
You can cheese it up as much as you want. Enough said.
It’s a vegetarian dish perfect for Meatless Monday – but adding some chicken breast or crumbled Italian sausage to it for a bit more protein would be equally tasty!
And of course, it pairs well with a nice glass of J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir – a wine I’ve been obsessing over for weeks now.
Abe and I have come a long way with our wine preferences since our days of Moscatos and Rieslings.
I guess it’s a natural progression that just happens the more you try new wines. We’ve graduated beyond the sweet reds, too – we’ll take a glass of drier, fruity red over anything.
Since my visit to Napa in March, my tastes have totally rubbed off on Abe, who now reaches for the corkscrew instead of the bottle opener when dinner is on the table. I didn’t make it to J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines while in California (there are SO many wineries!), but I already love the brand, and they’re for sure on my list on our next trip.
This vibrant red cherry J. Lohr Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir is so easy to pair with summer-style meals. Whether you’re enjoying this pesto pasta or are in the mood for grilled salmon or even barbecue chicken – anything appropriately al fresco is delicious with this wine!
Our new patio is still very much under construction, but that doesn’t stop us from setting up a couple of chairs and taking in some evening air every now and then. Yes, even in spite of the constant Florida humidity.
Disconnecting from the real world and just enjoying each other’s company, even only once a week, is something we love to do.
The phones get put away, the TV and computers are shut off. Sometimes we team up on dinner prep, which is always an entertaining experience (especially on pizza night).
Then we just talk. Really connect, like we did when we first started dating. Dating your spouse is actually a thing – and it’s completely worth the time!
How to make Pesto Pasta:
1. Toast pine nuts or walnuts in a skillet set over medium heat until golden, tossing occasionally. Add them to a blender or food processor along with fresh basil, minced garlic, and grated parmesan cheese.
2. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. With the blender/processor running, drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream until the pesto comes together and is well combined. Season to taste with salt.
- 4. Cook pasta (fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti) as directed on box to al dente. Drain and reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.
- 5. Saute diced onion, zucchini, and tomatoes in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in half the pasta water, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Stir until creamy, adding more water as needed. Add pesto and stir to combine.
- 6. Add pasta and toss with sauce and veggies. Serve with more grated parmesan and red pepper.
LOVE THIS PESTO PASTA RECIPE? LOOKING FOR MORE DATE NIGHT INSPO? TRY THESE DINNERS OUT NEXT!
- Coq Au Vin for Two
- 30-Minute Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Baked Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash
Summer Vegetable Ricotta Pesto Pasta
- ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 2 cups basil packed, plus more for garnish
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup olive oil plus more if needed
- Kosher salt to taste
- 12 ounces pasta fettucine or linguine
- ½ onion diced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 1 yellow squash sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 lemon zested
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more for garnish
- Toast pine nuts or walnuts in a skillet set over medium heat until golden, tossing occasionally.
- Add the nuts to the bowl of a blender or food processor with fresh basil, minced garlic, and Parmesan. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the blender/processor running, drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream until the pesto comes together and is well combined. Drizzle more if needed to reach your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed on box to al dente. Drain and reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.
- Saute diced onion, zucchini, and tomatoes in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in half the pasta water, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Stir until creamy, adding more pasta water as needed. Add pesto and stir to combine.
- Add pasta to skillet and toss with sauce and veggies. Serve with more grated parmesan and red pepper.
PIN THIS PESTO PASTA RECIPE FOR LATER!
Nellie Tracy says
This pasta recipe is already amazing but having those fresh garden veggies in it just makes it something really special! Definitely have a new favorite pasta dish!
Wow! This is my kind of pasta dish. Creamy pesto sauce with fresh summer vegetables…yes, please! I can’t wait to try your recipe. Your food photography is stunning.
I’ve made this twice and it’s been amazing both times. My guests even asked for the recipe after and also made it at home – it was such a hit. I put some red capsicum in it which adds some sweet bites. I’ve used walnuts and also pecans and either worked really well. I’ll be making this again and again! it’s very easy to make but the results are impressive!