This zesty Lemon Ricotta Pasta is an EASY weeknight dinner made with ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and garlicky olive oil. It’s a simple vegetarian, one pot meal ready in 15 minutes!
Pasta with Ricotta
Like my Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad, this simple, yet elegant pasta dish, is perfect to eat in the spring and summer months. Make it with homemade ricotta and it’ll be impressive.
I’m also a big fan of ricotta so, this dish is good for when you have some leftover because you bought the big container when you only needed the smaller one to make baked ziti.
Pasta is my “go to” dinner because it’s one thing my boys will always eat. Plus, it’s ready quickly and this recipe is super easy and quick!
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Lemon Ricotta Pasta
*The full printable recipe is in the recipe card below.
- 8 oz pappardelle egg pasta
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (or halved and then removed)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup starchy pasta water
- salt and pepper to taste
I chose pappardelle to make this recipe because I like thick pasta ribbons to make it a little more hardy than spaghetti or linguine. But, you can use any pasta you like, even tubular.
Also, if you find the ricotta coating isn’t enough for the pasta, just double it.
First, cook the pasta and reserve 1/4 cup of starchy water before draining it. If you forget, it won’t ruin the recipe.
Then, in the same pot you removed the pasta, you will cook garlic in EVOO and smell that beautiful aroma in your kitchen. But, don’t walk away. You don’t want the garlic to get browned. When the garlic is minced, it only takes about 30 seconds or fewer to flavor the oil on high heat.
If you don’t like it minced and prefer to use whole or halved garlic cloves, that’s fine. Just let them cook a little longer and then remove them or cook them a bit even longer if you intend to eat them.
Then, add in the ricotta (1 cup,) lemon zest (1/2 tbsp,) grated parmesan cheese (1/4 cup,) starchy water (1/4 cup), salt and pepper to taste.
The pasta water makes the texture a bit creamier and provides a bit more coating for the pasta too but, as I mentioned above, you can always double the ricotta mixture if you want more cheese coating.
The lemon zest emits a wonderful citrus flavoring for the ricotta and pasta. It’s a simple and elegant dish and a great way to use up leftover ricotta. This pasta will taste wonderful with your favorite white wine.
By the way, you can make your own ricotta cheese in your Instant Pot! It’s very easy with just two ingredients- milk and white vinegar. It comes in handy when you can’t run out to the store. It’s also simply delicious!
- Use another pasta variety. Spaghetti, bucatini and tubular pasta, shells, etc. also will work well.
- Add peas or chopped cooked broccoli.
- Add cooked, grilled chicken and double the ricotta sauce.
- Add fresh, chopped basil.
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I took this recipe to Weekend Potluck.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- First, cook pasta according to package directions or for about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining pasta.
- Next, zest the lemon and mince the garlic and set aside.
- Then, after you've drained the pasta, in the same pot from which you've cooked the pasta, add EVOO (3 tbsp,) and minced garlic. Cook on high heat for 30 seconds. Don't walk away from the stove and don't allow the garlic to brown.
- Then, immediately put the starchy pasta water back in the hot pot along with the ricotta cheese (1 cup), parmesan cheese (1/4 cup), and lemon zest. Stir and continue to cook for about it minute or so until the ricotta cheese is hot.
- Next, add the drained pasta back to the pot and stir it. Cook for another minute or so to heat up the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.