Lemon Ricotta Pasta

5 from 2 votes
3 Comments

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This tangy, creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta is light yet satisfying. It’s one of our favorite dishes for an evening when we’re eager to get dinner on the table.

A bowl of Lemon Ricotta Pasta topped with basil leaves and a lemon slice
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Lemon Ricotta Pasta
  2. Variations and Substitutions for Lemon Ricotta Pasta
  3. Recipe Tip
  4. Questions
  5. Loving Lemons
  6. How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta
  7. Lemon Ricotta Pasta Recipe

This Lemon Ricotta Pasta is a quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe. The rich and tangy sauce comes together while the pasta is cooking, so it’s a simple pasta dish that’s done in no time. It has so many things I love – fresh ingredients, tangy fresh lemon juice, creamy ricotta, fresh herbs, a little spice, and of course springy pasta cooked perfectly al dente. It’s a perfect simple summer supper all on its own, or paired with grilled chicken, salmon, steak, just about anything.

Ingredients in Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This light, fresh delicious pasta dish comes together with just a few simple ingredients:

  • Pasta – I like to use short pasta, like penne or fusilli, for this recipe because it is easier to stir into the sauce. However, I have used longer noodles before and it tastes just as good! Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions, or until al dente. Then drain and toss with the other ingredients.
  • Olive Oil – You can use other neutral oils like grape seed or avocado oil if needed. I like using extra virgin olive oil for its light flavor that doesn’t overpower the other flavors.
  • Garlic – I always say fresh is best! Make sure to crush your cloves before mincing to maximize the flavor.
  • Lemon Zest & Lemon Juice – Lemon zest is full of tangy, delicious lemon oil and adds so much flavor to the sauce.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – I like to add a little spice to this dish, but you can omit if desired. A little goes a long way, so you can start with just a pinch.
  • Ricotta Cheese – The star player of this sauce, ricotta is a protein-rich, creamy ricotta mixture. Use whole-milk ricotta for best results. You can find it in the dairy section of your grocery store near the cottage cheese and sour cream.
  • Parmesan Cheese – The best parmesan cheese is fresh grated. The pre-grated stuff has a coating on it that will clump up your sauce and won’t give it the best creamy texture.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves and Lemon Slices or Lemon Wedges – Basil and lemon on top just add that extra freshness and color on your plate.
  • Optional: Fresh parsley for garnish.
A bite of pasta on a fork


Variations and Substitutions for Lemon Ricotta Pasta

If you want to change things up a bit with this Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe, then I have a few suggestions!

  • You could add greens like spinach or arugula.
  • This pasta also goes great with asparagus and broccoli.
  • I have also garnished bowls of this pasta with cherry tomatoes.
  • While ricotta cheese is a very protein-heavy cheese, you could add more protein with chicken or shrimp.

Recipe Tip

A measuring cup full of pasta water held over a pot of pasta

Don’t skip the pasta water! A cup of starchy pasta water makes the lemon ricotta sauce so creamy and helps it cling to the pasta. Reserved pasta water is a great addition to almost any pasta sauce.

Questions

What goes well with ricotta?

Ricotta is mild enough that it goes well with sweet or savory flavors. Try it with eggs, pesto or tomatoes. Or eat it with strawberries or bananas for a sweet treat.

What does ricotta sauce taste like?

You’ll get a mild, slightly nutty flavor from full fat fresh ricotta cheese. Melted down, it can be a thick and creamy sauce and seasoned up a million different ways.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last a week. To reheat, you may need to add a splash of milk and then cover and microwave until heated through.

Will the ricotta melt into the sauce?

Ricotta will not melt into the sauce. This isn’t meant to be a smooth sauce, the ricotta will retain its signature clumps. It is still delicious!

READ MORE:35+ Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas

Noodles coated in Lemon Ricotta sauce in a large pan

Loving Lemons

If you love lemon flavor in your savory dishes, like in this lemon ricotta pasta, then try some of our other delicious lemon-y recipes!

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta

A bowl of Lemon Ricotta Pasta topped with basil leaves and a lemon slice

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

5 from 2 votes
This tangy, creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta is light yet satisfying. It’s one of our favorite dishes for an evening when we’re eager to get dinner on the table.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
    A measuring cup full of pasta water held over a pot of pasta
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Saute until fragrant.
    Oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes in a pan
  • Add the ricotta to the pan and whisk together until completely combined.
    Ricotta cheese in a pan mixed with spices and oil
  • Add the pasta water and parmesan cheese. Whisk until combined. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
    Lemon Ricotta Pasta Sauce in a pan
  • Add noodles and stir until coated.
    Noodles coated in Lemon Ricotta sauce in a large pan
  • Serve with fresh basil leaves and lemon slices.
    A bowl of Lemon Ricotta Pasta topped with basil leaves and a lemon slice

Nutrition Information

Calories: 738kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 29gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 243mgPotassium: 392mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 545IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 323mgIron: 2mg

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About the author

Kelsey Crist

Kelsey lives in Washington with her husband, Alex, and two cats, Diana and Nova. Her happy place is in the kitchen listening to an audiobook and trying new recipes. When she's not in the kitchen you can find her hiking, shopping at Trader Joe's, or playing Animal Crossing. Her favorite food is pasta and Alex loves when she makes Homemade Oreos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this recipe. It was easy to make and so delicious. I am keeping this in my dinner rotation!