This one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon was inspired by reader requests. Everyone wants quick and easy and delicious meals that they 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.
Quick. Easy. Lemony. And two extra bonus points for being a one pot vegetarian recipe. Because fewer dishes means less time spent cleaning up.
Tips and tricks for this recipe
This lemon ricotta pasta recipe uses ingredients that you likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry.
The ricotta might be a more specific purchase for when you’re making lasagna. Ricotta is a soft, Italian cheese that can be made from the whey from a variety of animals. Or you can make homemade ricotta from whole milk if you want to make your own.
FAQs about this one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon
Any short pasta would be ideal for the ricotta and lemon sauce. Think penne or fusilli or cavatappi.
A steamed green vegetable (e.g. green beans, broccoli) is quick and easy. Or these squash fritters, if it’s squash season.
Or make a salad – I find I’m much more likely to make a salad if I have triple-washed greens already in the fridge. Wash and throw on tomatoes and other vegetables. Vinaigrettes keep well, so make a big batch once a week or so. You’ve got a salad!
Chardonnay (light on the oak!) would be classic, but myself I might go with a Pinot Grigio.
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…)
One pot pasta with ricotta and lemon
- ½ pound (8 ounces) short pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅛ 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 stovetop 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.1/2 pound (8 ounces) short pasta
- Return the pot to the stovetop 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, 1/8 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, 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
- Serve immediately, topped with the parsley and/or basil.1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil or combination of both, salt and pepper to taste
Serve this as a main course with a side of green vegetables and salad. Or serve smaller portions as a side for roast chicken.
If you make this lemon ricotta pasta recipe, please leave a comment here. Or share a pic with me on Instagram.