Lemon Ricotta Pasta

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

Lemon Ricotta Pasta- pasta made with spinach, garlic, shallot, lemon and a simple, creamy ricotta sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for the perfect pasta dinner!

lemon ricotta pasta with crushed red pepper flakes and basil in large white pot.

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You can’t go wrong with pasta for dinner. A few favorites include: pasta primavera, spaghetti carbonara, baked ziti, and classic spaghetti. I also LOVE this simple Lemon Ricotta Pasta. It is the perfect meal for spring, summer, or anytime.

This pasta dish is easy to make, all of the ingredients are pretty basic. Plus, you can use whatever noodles you have in the pantry. It is a great meal for using up all of the random pasta you have.

But the sauce is what really makes this pasta special. Ricotta cheese is the secret to the sauce. It creates a creamy, cheesy sauce that is exquisite. For extra flavor, there is also shallot, garlic, spinach, and lemon. The combination is perfection. Pro tip, make sure you reserve some of the pasta water to create a silky smooth sauce that sticks to the pasta!

Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes and you have a restaurant quality meal in just 30 minutes!

ingredients to make lemon ricotta pasta in bowls.

Ingredients

  • Pasta– use your favorite pasta. Rigatoni, penne, farfalle, orecchiette, fuisilli, spaghetti, and angel hair are all good options. Read package instructions because cook time will vary depending on what shape you use.
  • Reserved pasta water– make sure you save some of the pasta water to create the sauce!
  •  Olive oil
  • Spinach– I like to use spinach, but kale or arugula are also delicious.
  • Shallot– look for shallots in the produce section, by the garlic.
  • Garlic– minced! I love this garlic press.
  • Ricotta cheese– use whole milk ricotta cheese for best results.
  • Lemon zest and lemon juice– I always zest the lemon first and then juice! I use this tool for zesting and this tool for juicing.
  • Parmesan cheese– buy a wedge of good Parmesan cheese and freshly grate it!

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta

  • Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Pour the pasta back into the pot and set aside.
spinach and shallot in large white pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the spinach and shallot and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
wilted spinach, spinach, garlic, and ricotta cheese in white pot with wooden spoon.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the ricotta cheese. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until creamy.
lemon ricotta pasta sauce in white pot with wooden spoon.
  • Add the reserved pasta water and stir again until well combined. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper.
pasta noodles in lemon ricotta sauce in white pot with wooden spoon.
  • Add in the pasta and stir well until pasta is well coated in the ricotta sauce.
  • Garnish with basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. You can also add an extra squeeze of lemon juice if you want a stronger lemon flavor.
lemon ricotta pasta in pot with spinach, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few side dishes that go great with this pasta!

How to Store & Reheat

  • Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may need to add a little water to create a super creamy sauce. Top with extra Parmesan cheese, basil, crushed red pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon after reheating.
lemon ricotta pasta in bowl with gold fork.

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Pasta made with spinach, garlic, shallot, lemon and a simple, creamy ricotta sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for the perfect pasta dinner!
4.63 from 90 votes

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Pour the pasta back into the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the spinach and shallot and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the ricotta cheese. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until creamy. Add the reserved pasta water and stir again until well combined. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Add in the pasta and stir well until pasta is well coated in the ricotta sauce. Garnish with basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. You can also add an extra squeeze of lemon juice if you want a stronger lemon flavor. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 196mg, Potassium: 298mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1662IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 191mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords lemon, pasta, ricotta cheese

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Wanting to try this recipe, but only have cottage and cream cheese. Would either of these work ?
    Denise

    1. I would go with cottage cheese. Puree in the blender or food processor first for a smoother texture.

  2. I did this a little differently. I used whole pound of pasta. Who leaves 2 ounces of pasta in the box. I added chicken, and sautéed that before the the spinach, onion and garlic. Then set it aside to do the spinach, onion and garlic. Then added it back ìn. Then I continued. Ì used almost all of 16 ounces of ricotta. I doubled the lemon zest and lemon juice and salt and pepper. I also used both pasta water and white wine. I also used more Parmesan to taste.