This Easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta is a simple to make pasta recipe. Each bite is full of creamy ricotta and vibrant lemon flavors. Ready in the time it takes to make the pasta! A delicious vegetarian dish to enjoy any night of the week!
Yes, you read that correctly! While the pasta is cooking, you prep the super quick and buttery lemon sauce is. The sauce is made in just minutes, and then it’s combined with the creamy ricotta cheese. This recipe is a riff on my pasta with ricotta and peas. I cooked up farfalle pasta, but any short pasta works great for this really easy pasta recipe.
Since it was recently Easter, I happened to have a little bit of basket ricotta cheese. It was an amazing quality basket ricotta cheese from New Jersey. I bought a few containers to make my pastiera Napoletana and my Italian Easter meat pie.
If you can find a really great quality ricotta cheese, I highly recommend using it for this pasta recipe.
Here is all you need to make this delicious and super simple pasta:
- pasta (I used farfalle, but penne or any short pasta works)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- lemon zest and juice
- ricotta (This ricotta brand is very rich and creamy)
- sea salt
- freshly round black pepper
- finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- fresh Italian parsley
How to you make the lemon butter sauce for this ricotta pasta?
Let’s talk about the sauce for a minute. Now this is not dairy-free recipe, so I used real butter. You have to brown the butter a little (browned butter makes every thing a little bit more delicious!) and freshly squeezed lemon juice + zest (better to use an organic lemon) gets added to that nicely browned butter.
Just don’t forget to save a little bit of the starchy pasta water and as soon as you drain the pasta. You ladle some out into a measuring cup (I save about 1/2 a cup)and add it right to the pan with the browned butter. The starchy pasta water gets combined for a minute and it helps thicken the butter sauce a little.
Once the browned butter sauce is ready, add the ricotta and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano (pecorino also works) to a large serving bowl. Stir it together and add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a dash of salt.
The final step is to add the pasta in the buttery lemon sauce to the bowl with the ricotta cheese. Stir it all together to combine. Check the salt and add some freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle on some chopped Italian parsley.
What other ways to use browned butter?
I have baked quite a lot with browned butter…here are some recipes to check out!
Browned Butter Pumpkin Beer Bread – This is a really nice quick bread to enjoy in the Fall.
Browned Butter and Molasses Chocolate Chips – One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes…ever!
Caramelized Banana Bread with Brown Butter Glaze – This glaze…that is all!
Pasta with Ricotta tips
- Pasta: I used farfalle, but you could use whatever short pasta you like or happen to have in your pantry. You could also make it with your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Pasta cooking water: Don’t forget to save a little bit of the pasta water. A ½ cup should be all you need. It makes the pasta a little bit more creamy when combined with the ricotta and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter. Use whatever brand you like. The better quality, the better the final flavor of this simple pasta dish.
- Ricotta: I highly recommend using full fat ricotta. I found a basket ricotta at a specialty market, and the flavor surpassed any other ricotta I’ve ever tried here. If you prefer lower fat ricotta, go ahead and use it!
- Lemon: Only fresh lemon will work for this dish! You’re using the zest and the juice, so if you can, try to get organic.
- Extra-Virgin Olive oil: I can’t emphasize enough how using a nice extra-virgin olive oil will change the flavor of a recipe. I have a really nice Sicilian EVOO and it’s very fruity.
Pasta making tips
- Salt-the pasta water needs to be salted. If you skip this taste, the end flavor will be really missing something.
- Pasta water-save some of that pasta water. I always keep a measuring cup right by the stove so I don’t forget to grab a little bit before draining the pasta.
- Cook the pasta to al dente-Mushy pasta just isn’t going to showcase the flavor of this dish. Keep an eye on the pasta and check it about a minute or two before it’s supposed to be done. I usually spoon out a piece of pasta and check the texture. Then drain it as soon as it’s al dente.
- No need to rinse the pasta-You may see some pasta recipes where they instruct you to drain and rinse the pasta. The pasta does not need to be rinsed.
How to store this pasta?
As soon as it cools down, store it for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You could heat it up in a low heat (you may need to add a little bit of water to loosen the ricotta up again).
Can I freeze this pasta?
I do not recommend freezing it.
Some other pasta recipes to enjoy:
Just a quick request: if you enjoyed this easy lemon ricotta pasta as much as we did, would you kindly leave me a 5-star rating and a short (or long!)comment–the ratings are what helps get my recipes and hard work discovered, so I can keep leaving you more delish recipes!
Your comments mean the world to me….and I really SMILE when I read them. Thank you so much! XX
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Easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- pound farfalle pasta or any other short pasta
- salt for pasta water
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tsp lemon zest and juice I used 1 large organic
- 1 cup whole fat ricotta
- sea salt for sprinkling
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley chopped (not the stems)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the pasta.
- Cook the pasta making sure it's not quite al dente (so about 1 minute less than the cooking time, because you'll be combining in the skillet with the browned butter + lemon sauce and heating together and it will cook a little more).
- When there is a few minutes left of pasta cooking time, prep the browned butter sauce.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, add the butter. Let it melt and start to brown. When the butter is browned add in the lemon juice and zest. Add in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Dump the pasta into the skillet and stir to combine with the browned butter lemon sauce.
- In a large serving bowl, add the ricotta and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano (pecorino also works). Stir it together and add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a dash of salt. Add a tablespoon or two of the reserved pasta water to help the ricotta sauce bind with the pasta.
- Add the pasta in the buttery lemon sauce to the bowl with the ricotta cheese. Stir it all together to combine. You should have a creamy ricotta sauce. Add a little more pasta water or olive oil, if needed.
- Check the salt (add more if needed), and add some freshly ground pepper.
- When serving in the bowls, sprinkle on some chopped Italian parsley and a little grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese (optional). Enjoy!