This Easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta mixes creamy ricotta cheese, zesty lemon, and tender spinach all combined and tossed with hot pasta for a super simple 10 minute pasta dish.
If you are looking for an easy vegetarian pasta dish, look no further! This delicious pasta dish is tossed with ricotta and very simply flavored with garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes and comes together so quickly.
Side note, red pepper flakes are always welcome in a pasta dish in my book! They are the perfect amount of heat and don't alter the overall flavor of a dish too much. I love them in this Gigi Hadid Pasta recipe too.
This lemon pasta works great as a lunch, snack, or a light dinner. It would be super tasty paired with grilled chicken, salmon, or the reader favorite parmesan crusted chicken romano.
This pasta can be served hot or cold.
Looking for more pasta dishes with spinach?
What is in Lemon Ricotta Pasta?
- Pasta. I used angel hair here, but truly any pasta shape would work. Use your favorite here.
- Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese. Ricotta is actually not a cheese at all! It's made from the dairy by-product when other cow's milk cheese are made. Because of this, it doesn't get as smooth as some cheese sauces do. Don't worry-- the flavor is stellar!
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese. This adds more cheesy goodness, depth of flavor, and a nice amount of saltiness.
- Fresh Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest. One of the biggest flavoring agents in this dish! Don't skimp on the zest, it holds a lot of flavor.
- Baby Spinach. The spinach wilts nicely in the hot pasta without even have to "cook" it.
- Garlic. I am normally one to measure garlic with my heart (i.e. a recipe calling for 1 cloves equals 5 in my mind), however for this recipe, I would recommend sticking to the one clove. The garlic added to the ricotta mixture raw, and since it isn't cooked, it can be very strong and a little bitter. If you would like to add more garlic, you may want to saute it in a bit of olive oil first. Cooking it for even a minute, takes away a lot of the bitterness.
How to make Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Cook pasta according to packaging instructions. Once pasta is finished cooking, reserve ½ cup of starchy pasta water in a cup to the side before draining the pasta.
In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and salt. Stir to combine.
When pasta has been drained but is still hot, add in baby spinach and allow to wilt.
Stir in ricotta sauce mixture along with the reserved pasta water and stir to coat.
Try it with cream cheese. You'll notice that the ricotta doesn't create a super smooth pasta sauce. This is because ricotta cheese does not melt in the same way a lot of cheeses do. If you would like to make a creamier sauce, try replacing the ricotta with ½ cup of cream cheese or ½ cup of mascarpone cheese.
Sub in herbs for the spinach. If you want to switch it up you can add a handful of fresh parsley or fresh basil instead of spinach. This would also add a nice fresh flavor to the recipe. Arugula would also be a great substitute and give a peppery bite to the dish. We also love arugula in pasta dishes like Goat Cheese and Arugula Pasta and Lemon and Arugula with Capellini Pasta.
Store any pasta leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This ricotta pasta can be enjoyed cold straight from the fridge or reheated in the microwave.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- ½ lb pasta of your choice
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- salt to taste
- Cook pasta according to packaging instructions. Once pasta is finished cooking, reserve ½ cup of starchy pasta water in a cup to the side before draining the pasta.
- In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and salt. Stir to combine.
- When pasta has been drained but is still hot, add in baby spinach and allow to wilt.
- Stir in ricotta sauce mixture along with the reserved pasta water and stir to coat.