Lemon Ricotta Pasta is a vegetarian bright, flavorful and easy weeknight dinner recipe that comes together in less than 20 minutes using simple pantry items
This Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe is sponsored by Gourmet Garden™. As always, all opinions are my own 🙂
I am always in the mood for pasta and I love making simple bright sauces that don’t weigh down the dish. This Lemon Ricotta Pasta is made with ricotta, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and pasta water. The secret to getting that delicious sauce is the garlic and pasta water that cook together to emulsify and cling to the ricotta.
Easy weeknight pasta dinner
October 17 is National Pasta Day, and I’m partnering with Gourmet Garden to celebrate one of my favorite foods ever using their herbs and spices. They’re all about convenience and flavor to enhance any pasta dish in a flash!
In this lemon ricotta pasta, I use their Garlic Stir-In Paste in the base of the sauce which limits time peeling and crushing garlic. I also finish the dish with their Lightly Dried Basil to add a bright finish to the dish in a pinch! And that means weeknight dinner never looked easier than this!
And the good news is after I use a little of this and a little of that, their products stay fresh in the refrigerator for weeks (even months for the Garlic Stir-in Paste!). That means less “wilt guilt” for me. And it’s possible that also means more weeknight pasta dinners because of how easy they come together. I love having access to Gourmet Garden fresh herbs and spices whenever inspiration strikes. They are also easy to find in the store right in the refrigerated produce section, next to fresh herbs.
How to make lemon ricotta pasta
Cook the pasta
Get some pasta cooking in one pot. Cook it al dente and reserve a cup of pasta water.
Make the sauce
Start with 1/4 cup of olive oil. It may seem like a lot, but this will be used to cook the garlic and will be the base for the sauce in this Lemon Ricotta Pasta. Measure out a teaspoon of the Gourmet Garden Garlic Stir-in Paste. One teaspoon replaces one medium clove of garlic. Allow the garlic to cook for a couple minutes with the oil until it becomes fragrant.
Then immediately whisk in the ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper until well combined.
Add the pasta water in and whisk until the sauce is smooth. At first it may seem like you thinned it too much, but it will thicken as it cools and turn into the perfect consistency.
Put it all together
Then it’s time to add in the pasta and mix everything well to combine and coat each piece of pasta with the sauce. If the sauce seems yellow from the olive oil at first, it will soon blend in easily with the pasta.
This is also the time when you can add some steamed vegetables to the pasta dish. Or if you’re using spinach or kale, you can just mix them right in. The heat from the pasta will soften the kale.
I told you it was an easy weeknight pasta dinner. The sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make. It’s full of flavor from the garlic and lemon juice while still being ultra-creamy from the ricotta and the melted parmesan cheese. And the pasta water helps to cling everything together and bind the sauce to the pasta.
This lemon ricotta pasta feels like such an elegant gourmet dish, but the time invested in it is really minimal! It has a bright tang that can really be made and served all year round and switched up with various vegetables and/or proteins.
Tips for making lemon ricotta pasta
- Use small-shaped pasta shape. That’s the kind that best complements the lemon ricotta sauce and will hold the sauce well. Think of using cavatappi, like I did or rotini, penne or fusilli.
- Salt the pasta water. Salt penetrates the pasta while boiling, allowing it to get properly flavored. It’s much harder to flavor pasta after it’s been cooked, and you will most likely end up using way more salt than needed. Plus, we’re going to be using this salted pasta water in the lemon ricotta pasta sauce!
- Cook the pasta al dente. I highly recommend cooking the pasta al dente, so it has a nice bite to it even after it’s been tossed in the warm sauce. You don’t want it to become soggy after you toss it in the sauce for a couple minutes.
- Don’t rinse or drain the pasta after cooking. You want to toss the hot pasta with the sauce without letting the pasta drain or cool. I recommend that you transfer it directly from the pot it was cooking into the skillet using a slotted spoon. Then toss quickly and thoroughly.
For more vegetarian pasta dishes:
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Thank you Gourmet Garden for sponsoring this Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- 12 ounces cavatappi pasta or other kind
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Garlic Stir-In Paste
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta 8 ounces
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup lemon juice plus zest
- 8 ounces kale shredded
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Basil for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- In the same pot, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Then add the garlic paste and cook until fragrant. Whisk in the ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper until well combined.
- Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce and whisk until smooth. Add the pasta and the kale and continue to stir until the noodles are well coated and the kale softens. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce.
- Garnish with lemon slices and basil, if desired.
- To make it gluten-free, you can use any gluten-free pasta of your choice.
- To make the sauce more creamy, you can add some milk instead of some of the pasta water.
- Feel free to substitute the kale with spinach, or other vegetables like broccoli, peas or green beans.