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Lemon Ricotta Pasta

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.

Serve this pasta dish with a refreshing soup like Gazpacho or a simple side like our Tomato Salad with Feta or tangy Cauliflower Steaks for a dinner that is truly perfect for summer.

Close up view of noodles tossed in lemon ricotta sauce.

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

  1. 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.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh basil, lemon zest, and extra Parmesan cheese as garnishes and enjoy.
Collage showing how to make lemon ricotta pasta.

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. 
Top down view of lemon ricotta pasta in a white bowl.

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.

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White bowl of lemon ricotta pasta.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Yield: About 5 Cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta, uncooked (We used Barilla brand.)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 cup full fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. While the pasta cooks, in a medium bowl combine the ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh basil, lemon zest, and extra Parmesan cheese. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of pasta. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 174mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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