One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

This one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon was inspired by reader requests for quick and easy meals. It’s something you can make on a weeknight when everyone is tired and hungry and no one wants to cook. I want more of those meals too.

The last time I made this lemon ricotta pasta, it took me exactly 33 minutes from the time I started to fill the pasta pot to when the plates were placed on the table. And, truthfully, more than half of this time was spent waiting for the water to boil.

It’s quick, easy, and very lemony. And it gets bonus points for being a one pot recipe. Because fewer dishes means less time spent cleaning up.

a plate of ricotta and lemon pasta with green beans.

Tips and tricks for this recipe


This one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon mostly uses ingredients that you likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry. The ricotta might be a more specific purchase for you. But maybe you have leftover ricotta after you’ve made my one pan vegetarian eggplant lasagna.

ingredients for this one pot pasta with lemon and ricotta recipe on a cutting board.

About ricotta

Ricotta is a soft, Italian cheese that can be made from the whey from a variety of animals. You can make homemade ricotta from whole milk if you want to make your own. It takes a bit of time, but the hardest part about making ricotta is finding milk that isn’t ultra-pasteurized!

What pasta shape would work best in this recipe?

Any short pasta would be ideal for the ricotta and lemon sauce. Think penne or fusilli or cavatappi.

Or this recipe would be a great place to use cascatelli, the new pasta shape developed by Dan Pashman of the Sporkful podcast. Have you tried it yet?

What to serve with this one pot pasta with lemon and ricotta

This pasta recipe could be a main course pasta, or you could serve it as a side. Make it with something simple, like these cast iron chicken breasts or another roast meat.

In the 30 minutes this pasta is cooking, you could make a steamed green vegetable like green beans or broccoli. Or spend a bit more time with these fried patty pan squash patties, if it’s summer squash season.

Salad is always a great option. I find I’m much more likely to make a salad if I have triple-washed greens already in the fridge. Wash and chop tomatoes and a few other vegetables. Many salad dressings keep well, so make a big batch of my maple Dijon vinaigrette or this creamy pesto dressing once a week or so. You’ve got salad!

If you’re looking for wine recommendations, a chardonnay that’s light on oak would be classic. Myself, I might choose a Pinot Grigio.

FAQs about this one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon

Can I double this recipe to feed a larger family?

Absolutely. Double away. Just make sure that your pasta pot is big enough to hold enough water. And don’t forget to salt the water!
(Bubble, bubble pasta pot…)

Can you freeze leftovers?

Leftovers won’t reheat particularly well and won’t freeze without changing the consistency of the ricotta. I’d recommend only making what you intend to eat.

Related recipes

Check out other uglyducklingbakery pasta recipes including this orzo pesto salad, cavatappi alfredo and peas, cavatappi mac and cheese, pink sauce pasta, or tuna pesto pasta.

Love lemon? I’ve got a variety of recipes including this one pot gnocchi with asparagus and lemon, my blackberry lemon bread, these lemon lavender cookies, and of course a cocktail or two with lemon juice like this Elderflower Tom Collins.

One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

5 from 1 vote
Category: Pasta
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 769kcal
This one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon is a quick and easy pasta that's perfect for a weeknight. Add a green vegetable or side salad, and you've got dinner in about 30 minutes!
Print Recipe


  • ½ pound (8 ounces) short pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or basil or combination of both
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Set a large pot of water on the stove top on high. When boiling, add salt.
  • When the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta according to directions. Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
    ½ pound (8 ounces) short pasta
  • Return the pot to the stove top and add the olive oil over medium-low heat.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • When the olive oil is hot, add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
    2 cloves garlic, minced, ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, and then add the pasta back to the pot and stir to coat. Remove from heat.
    1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Off the heat, add the ricotta cheese and Parmesan and stir to mix. Add back some of the pasta water as needed to thin out the cheese.
    1 cup ricotta cheese, ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
  • Serve immediately, topped with the parsley and/or basil.
    ¼ cup chopped parsley or basil or combination of both, salt and pepper to taste


Serving suggestions:
Serve this as a main course with a side of green vegetables and salad. Or serve smaller portions as a side for roast chicken.


Calories: 769kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1326IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 457mg | Iron: 3mg
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What’s next?

If you make this lemon ricotta pasta recipe, please don’t forget to leave a comment. Pretty please.

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