Creamy lemon ricotta pasta to add a little bit of brightness to the week! It’s the simplest pasta to keep in your back pocket when you need a quick side dish for a weeknight meal, but it’s special enough to make for a dinner party as well. Bursting with lemon flavor, nutty parmesan cheese, and black pepper. So delicious, and so very easy to make.
lemon ricotta pasta – the details
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I love the combination of lemon & ricotta. After creating this lemon ricotta pancake recipe years back and it quickly becoming one of the most popular recipes on the site, I got to thinking what other forms this fun flavor combo could take on.
These raspberry lemon ricotta muffins came next, and now…lemon ricotta pasta! A pasta so simple, yet so lovely that you’ll hopefully be making it over and over again.
The lemony pasta sauce basically comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta. I’m using fettuccine, but I’d say any long pasta shape would work.
The sauce is a combination of browned butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and starchy pasta water (ladled out of the pot you’re cooking the pasta in). The key is to add the pasta straight into the sauce skillet and stir for a full minute or so to allow the sauce to cling to the pasta. The starches will continue to develop and help thicken the sauce.
The final step? Plating the pasta over top a layer of creamy ricotta cheese that’s seasoned simply with salt. As you eat the pasta, the ricotta will “melt” right into each forkful, creating a luxurious bite every time.
If you’re looking for more delicious pasta recipes, here are a few to try:
Creamy Red Pepper Pasta with Burrata & Herbs
Spicy Caramelized Onion Pasta
Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage
Lemon Ricotta Pasta
a simple lemon pasta served on top of creamy ricotta cheese
- kosher salt
- ½ lb fettuccine
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a heaping amount of salt. Drop the fettuccine into the water and stir well. Cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions.
- When the pasta has about 3 minutes left of cooking, heat a 12” stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt. Continue to cook the butter until browned and fragrant. Stir in the lemon zest. Cook for another few seconds.
- Retrieve 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and add it to the skillet (reserve about ½ cup more on the side). Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir well to coat.
- Gradually add the parmesan cheese, stirring continuously for about 1 minute to fully incorporate the cheese and allow the sauce to cling to the pasta. (*At this point, if the sauce is looking a little thick, you can add more pasta water as needed to loosen it and keep it silky-smooth.)
- Lastly, stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
- Add the ricotta cheese to a small bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth. Spread the ricotta onto a large plate. Pour the pasta over top. Garnish with any extra lemon zest, more parmesan, and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
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