This Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe is a flavorful vegetarian favorite that takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s got a creamy lemon ricotta sauce filled with spinach, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
I never get any complaints when I serve this quick and easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta for dinner. It’s a spring and summer favorite that can be ready in no time.
The creamy sauce is made with ricotta cheese, fresh lemons, sauteed garlic, spinach, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. It tastes great topped with a little fresh basil and even more grated Parmesan cheese. Feel free to keep it vegetarian or add some grilled chicken or fish.
Ingredients for Pasta With Ricotta and Lemon
- Pasta - you can make this Lemon Ricotta Pasta with just about any type of pasta shape you can think of. It works equally well with long spaghetti or fettuccine noodles as it does with shells, penne pasta, ziti, and so on.
- Olive Oil - you can substitute avocado oil if you would like.
- Garlic - fresh minced or grated garlic will give your lemon ricotta sauce the best flavor. You can substitute jarred minced garlic if needed.
- Fresh Lemons - you will need about 1 tablespoon of zest and ¼ cup of lemon juice, or about 1 medium or 2 small lemons.
- Ricotta Cheese - either whole fat or skim milk ricotta will work great for this recipe.
- Parmesan Cheese - freshly grated Parmesan has the best flavor and will melt the best over your pasta.
- Spinach - I love to use baby spinach, but you can use any type of spinach for this recipe. I recommend roughly chopping before adding it.
- Salt and Pepper
- Garnish - my favorite garnish for this dish is a little fresh basil and extra Parmesan cheese. If you like a touch of spice, you could also add a little red pepper flakes. Other fresh herbs like mint or parsley would taste great, too.
How to Make Ricotta Lemon Pasta
- Cook the pasta. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente according to the cooking time on the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before you drain the pasta. Set aside.
- Cook the garlic. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Simmer the ricotta sauce. Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon zest, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, spinach and 1 cup of served pasta water. Whisk well and continue cooking for about 2 minutes while stirring.
- Season. Remove from the heat and add the fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve. Add the lemon sauce immediately to the cooked pasta, and stir to combine. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have leftovers that you want to reheat, I recommend adding a splash of milk or water to a pot with the pasta. Warm over medium low and gently stir occasionally until warmed.
I love eating this lemony pasta with a simple green salad tossed in our homemade Italian Dressing. It would also taste great with just about any veggie side dish like these Grilled Street Corn on the Cob, Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Grilled Veggie Kabobs.
Starchy pasta water is a perfect binder and thickener for pasta sauce. However, if you forget it’s no biggie. Just substitute a bit of water or broth - your sauce may need to cook a touch longer to reduce and thicken.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To reheat: add pasta to a pot with a splash of milk, water, or veggie broth and heat over medium low. Stir occasionally and continue to heat until warmed through.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound Pasta
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1½ Tablespoons Garlic minced or grated
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 16 ounces Ricotta Cheese whole fat or skim
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated, plus more to add when serving
- 2 cups Fresh Spinach coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil sliced thin
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before you drain the pasta. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon zest, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach and 1 cup of served pasta water. Whisk well and continue cooking for about 2 minutes while stirring.
- Remove from the heat and add the fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add the lemon sauce immediately to the cooked pasta, and stir to combine. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!
More Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Garlic Tortellini Alfredo
- Ground Beef Pasta Bake
- Chicken Alfredo
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce
- Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- More Vegetarian Dinner Ideas
- More Pasta Recipes
This creamy Ricotta Lemon Pasta recipe is an easy 30 minute meal idea for busy weeknights. It's a perfect spring or summer dinner recipe that couldn't be easier.