This Lemon Ricotta Pasta is packed with fresh, delicious flavors and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish! A perfect vegetarian dish for meatless Monday or any day of the week!
Sometimes the best dishes are the easiest to make. And y'all this is one of those recipes.
All you have to do is boil up some pasta, mix in your sauce ingredients and wala! A 20 minute meal fit for a king.
I love adding a little white truffle oil to this recipe to really make it feel special, but it's also delicious without. This bright, creamy pasta is a dish you'll be coming back to again and again.
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- Large pot: I typically use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven to both cook the pasta and toss the sauce.
- Measuring cups and spoons: I love this set by Oxo.
- Mixing bowl
- Pasta: I love using Tortiglioni pasta for this dish but you can really use whatever shape you prefer. Rigatoni, Cavatappi, Calamarata, even Gemelli or Fusili will work!
- Ricotta Cheese: I highly recommend using full fat ricotta. It has much more flavor and a better texture than low fat versions.
- Lemon: You'll need the zest and juice.
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly shredded is ideal.
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt & pepper
- White truffle oil (optional): This is completely option but I love adding a teaspoon of Truffle Hunter White Truffle Oil. It adds so much depth and complexity and really elevates this dish. However, if you don't have any or don't like truffle this pasta is still very delicious without.
- Fresh basil: Fresh works best. I would not recommend substituting with dried basil.
Step by Step Instructions
Time needed: 20 minutes.
How to make Lemon Ricotta Pasta:
- Boil the pasta to al dente.
Reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking mix up the lemon ricotta sauce.
- Place pot back on the stove and add pasta, lemon ricotta sauce and a ladle of pasta water.
Place the pot on the still warm burner (make sure it is not on) and fold the ingredients together until well combined and creamy.
If the mixture seems to dry add a little more pasta water.
- Top with fresh basil and parmesan. Enjoy!
This recipe is fabulous on its own or served with a simple side salad of mixed greens or arugula.
It pairs beautifully with a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
Tips and tricks for perfect lemon ricotta pasta.
- Salt the pasta water. As the Italians say, your pasta water should be like the sea. Not only will your pasta soak up the salt as it cooks, but you will be using the seasoned pasta water to help thicken the sauce later on.
- Don't throw out the pasta water. If immediately draining the pasta is your instinct be sure to reserve at least a cup up of that seasoned, starchy water. This will bring the lemon ricotta sauce together.
- Don't overcook the pasta. The pasta should be boiled to al dente, which means it still has a bit of a bite. This is usually around a minute before most package instructions tell you to cook. Taste for texture towards the end to be sure.
- Never rinse the pasta. Your pasta has lovely starches on it that will help thicken the sauce and also you want the pasta to stay HOT before you toss it with the sauce.
- Don't add basil until the end. Fresh basil adds beautiful flavor to this recipe. Rather than mixing it in with the sauce it's much better julienned and served on top right before eating.
- Season to taste. If you feel like something is missing it's probably salt. Add a little and taste again until it meets your preference.
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Made this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Large pot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl
- 1 lb tortiglioni pasta see ingredient notes above for substitutions
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, full fat
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup grated or finely shredded parmesan freshly grated is best
- 1 tsp white truffle oil optional
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper
- fresh basil, thinly sliced
- grated parmesan for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, usually about a minute less than package instructions. Turn off the burner and reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. Then drain pasta in a colander. (Do not rinse the pasta.)
- While the pasta is cooking combine ricotta, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, parmesan cheese, truffle oil (if using), a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir until well combined.
- After draining the pasta immediately add back back to the pot and place on the warm (but not lit) burner. Immediately stir in ricotta lemon mixture and about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Continue to stir over the warm burner for a few minutes until the mixture is heated through and creamy. Add additional pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed. Taste and add additional salt & pepper as necessary.
- Top the pasta with thinly sliced basil and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!