Lemon Ricotta Pasta is fast, easy, and stunningly delicious. Al dente pasta is smothered in a light lemon ricotta sauce that is perfectly indulgent without being too heavy. It’s a great side dish or dinner option on those hot summer nights when you don’t want to spend too much time over the stove and just want something refreshing and filling on the table.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
In the mood for something filling but it’s just too hot to think about standing over a hot stove? Try our amazing Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe!
Made in 30 minutes, this dish blends al dente pasta, creamy ricotta, and fresh lemon flavors to create a bright and flavorful dish that’s also light and refreshing.
Add in spinach or broccoli for some extra veggie goodness or toss in some baked chicken breasts for protein. An easy weeknight meal solution to get you fed and full without feeling weighed down.
How To Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Boil the pasta until it is al dente. Save about 1 cup of starchy pasta water, drain the rest of the pasta water from the noodles, and return them to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Once the pasta has been cooked and returned to the pot, pour the lemon ricotta sauce over the cooked pasta, and reduce the heat to low. Stir constantly while adding splashes of pasta water to loosen the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce is heated through and the desired consistency is reached. You may not need all of the pasta water depending on how thick you like your sauce.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil, lemon zest, and extra Parmesan cheese as garnishes and enjoy.
Tips and Variations
- It’s important to slowly add in the pasta water as you stir the sauce. A little too much and the sauce thins out to practically nothing. Not enough and it becomes super thick. Definitely be patient and add a little at a time.
- The sauce will get gummy as it cools so you may want to add some milk or cream to the pasta when serving leftovers or even getting seconds for dinner as it will cool very quickly.
- Add some green to your pasta dish by incorporating peas, spinach, broccoli, or asparagus.
- Add grilled chicken or shrimp for protein.
- Throw in some red pepper flakes or blackening seasoning to add a touch of spice.
- Shorter noodles are typically used but you can substitute any type and brand of pasta you prefer.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: This pasta is particularly best when served and eaten right away. Because the sauce gets a tad dry and gummy as everything cools down, fresh is best. However, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Reheating: If you do have leftovers and want to reheat them, we suggest adding in a splash of whole milk or heavy cream and a pinch or two of salt to loosen the sauce and pasta and revive some of those flavors. It’s best to reheat this dish on the stove when adding in the milk and heat until just warmed through.
Lemon Ricotta PastaPrint Pin
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- 8 ounces rigatoni pasta, uncooked (We used Barilla brand.)
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, full fat
- 3 tablespoon(s) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded off the block, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil, chiffonade
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Cook until al dente. Save 1 cup of starchy pasta water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pan.8 ounces rigatoni pasta1 cup reserved pasta water
- While the pasta cooks, in a medium bowl combine the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.1 cup ricotta cheese3 tablespoon(s) lemon juice1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest2 tablespoon(s) olive oil¼ cup Parmesan cheeseSalt and pepper
- Pour the lemon ricotta sauce over the cooked pasta, and turn the heat to low. Stir constantly while adding splashes of pasta water to loosen the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce is heated through and the desired consistency is reached. You may not need all of the pasta water.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil, lemon zest, and extra Parmesan cheese. See post for storage options.Fresh basil