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.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
This Lemon Ricotta Pasta is a quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe. The sauce comes together while the pasta is cooking. It has so many things I love – fresh ingredients, tangy lemon, creamy cheese, a little spice, and of course springy pasta cooked perfectly al dente.
- 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!
- Olive Oil – You can use other neutral oils like grape seed or avocado if needed.
- 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.
- Ricotta Cheese – The star player of this sauce, ricotta is a protein-rich, creamy cheese. Use whole-milk ricotta for best results.
- Parmesan Cheese – The best parmesan cheese is fresh grated. The pre-grated stuff has a coating on it that will clump up your sauce.
- Basil Leaves and Lemon Slices or Lemon Wedges – Basil and lemon on top just add that extra freshness and color on your plate.
Variations on 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 this dish with cherry tomatoes. While ricotta cheese is a very protein-heavy cheese, you could add more protein with chicken or shrimp.
Don’t skip the pasta water! It makes the lemon ricotta sauce so creamy and helps it cling to the pasta. Pasta water is a great addition to almost any pasta sauce.
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.
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!
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!
- Grilled Artichokes with Creamy Lemon Dip – Grilled Artichokes with Creamy Lemon Dip is an irresistible appetizer that is easy to make and fun to eat! Tender, smokey artichoke pieces are perfect dipped in creamy, tangy sauce.
- Lemon Rice – Lemon Rice is a fragrant, zesty, and oh so easy side dish! Simple yet savory, fast yet flavorful, this rice recipe will become a favorite in your family!
- Lemon Spaghetti – Lemon Spaghetti is packed full of lemon flavor and perfectly paired with fresh basil and parmesan. This whole dish comes together in the time it takes to boil the noodles.
- Baked Lemon Chicken – Baked Lemon Chicken is a fresh and delicious springtime recipe. You will love the sweet and tangy lemon sauce over perfectly baked chicken!
- Chicken Pizza with Lemon – This Chicken Pizza with Lemon is perfect for spring, it is just bursting with fresh flavors and vibrant colors. Lemon cream sauce, artichokes, arugula, and feta.
How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- 1 pound pasta noodles reserve 1 cup of water before draining pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt and black pepper to taste
- basil leaves for serving
- lemon slices for serving
- Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Saute until fragrant.
- Add the ricotta to the pan and whisk together until completely combined.
- Add the pasta water and parmesan cheese. Whisk until combined. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add noodles and stir until coated.
- Serve with fresh basil leaves and lemon slices.