This easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta is bursting with fresh, bright flavors and tender veggies! So simple to make, and it's ready in minutes!
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It's beginning to feel like winter may never end, isn't it? So I'm doing what I always do at this time of year ... anything and everything to remind me that spring is just around the corner. Ha!
Cooking is one thing that always puts me in the seasonal spirit. And right now, I'm loving light, bright flavors ... basically, dishes that taste like spring.
My delicious Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli is exactly what I've been craving, and I know you're going to love it, too.
This easy pasta with ricotta cheese is filled with bright, fresh flavors that scream spring. But you know what the best part is? It only takes minutes to make!
About the Recipe
Have you ever had Ricotta Pasta? Also called Pasta with Ricotta Sauce (or Pasta con Ricotta, if you want to get fancy), it's a rustic Italian recipe that's deceptively simple to make!
You're going to love how the creamy ricotta sauce get in the nooks and crannies of every noodle ... each bite has so much flavor! And because we're using ricotta (rather than cream), this dish tastes rich, but it's not too heavy.
Best of all, this homemade sauce requires almost no cooking. It just needs to be warmed up enough to become smooth and creamy.
This flavorful lemon pasta recipe is fancy enough for company, yet quick enough for weeknight dinners (it's one of my fave 30 minute meals!). Seriously, once your pasta is cooked, it's time to eat ... what could be better than that?
This easy pasta dish requires very few ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Pasta - I used rotini here, but any spiral shape will work fine (try cavatappi, fusilli, or gemelli).
- Fresh Veggies - Broccoli tastes especially delicious here, but if you're not a fan, replace it with asparagus, peas, spinach, or even tomatoes.
- Ricotta - I used part-skim ricotta this time, but this pasta tastes even more luxurious made with whole milk ricotta.
- Unsalted Butter - A bit of butter makes the sauce extra creamy.
- Fresh Lemon Zest - You only need the zest for this recipe, reserve the juice for another use.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - Optional, but they add a delicious, spicy bite that's the perfect counterpart to the rich sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese - A generous sprinkle is the ideal finishing touch.
- Fresh Cracked Pepper + Salt (I prefer to use Kosher Salt.)
Make sure to choose high quality ingredients ... they will really shine in such a simple dish!
How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pasta
This yummy pasta sauce is so simple to prepare and ready in minutes! You'll find a detailed, printable recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add your pasta. You want to cook the pasta until it's almost (but not quite!) al dente.
- Add the broccoli. When you have about two minutes of pasta cooking time left, add the broccoli to the pot. Continue cooking until your pasta is perfectly al dente and the veg is tender. Reserve about ½ a cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and broccoli.
- Mix the sauce. While the pasta cooks, stir together the ricotta, butter, lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl (big enough to hold the pasta later). Season to taste with salt and pepper. For now, don't worry if the butter doesn't blend in.
- Warm the sauce. I recommend warming the sauce in your microwave, but check out the tip below if you don't have one. After you've mixed everything together, heat the sauce at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until it's smooth and creamy. It shouldn't take long (about one-and-one-half minutes total) ... you don't need to "cook" it.
- Finish the pasta. When everything is ready, add the drained pasta and broccoli to the ricotta sauce. Then, toss gently until everything is well coated. As you do this, stir in just enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin the ricotta sauce slightly (you may not need it all). This will help the sauce coat the pasta. Before serving, taste your pasta and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
And that's all there is to it ... your scrumptious Ricotta Pasta is ready to eat!
Top it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a pop of flavor, and if you like a little kick, an extra sprinkle of pepper flakes.
Tip: If you don't have a microwave to heat the sauce, you have two other options. If your bowl is heat proof and large enough, you can place it over the pasta pot (basically, you're treating the bowl as a pot lid). As the water heats to a boil, the sauce will warm up, too. Once the water boils, remove the bowl of ricotta sauce and set it aside. Or you can warm the sauce gently in a large skillet (over medium-low heat), just until heated through. Use this method if you don't have a microwave or tall pot.
If you loved this easy Pasta with Ricotta, make sure to try my White Pizza recipe, too. It has the same delicious flavors!
Looking for more quick pastas? You'll love these tasty recipes, too!
- 15 Minute Tomato Basil Pasta
- Farfalle with Roasted Asparagus, Lemon, and Parmesan
- Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
- Easy One Pot Pasta
- Cold Asian Noodle Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera
- Instant Pot Pasta with Feta, Olives, and Basil
- Vegetable Tofu Lo Mein
Searching for more ricotta recipes? Try this Baked Ricotta (one of my fave, easy appetizers), this show stopping Roasted Vegetable Tart (great for holidays and special occasions), or these mouthwatering Four Cheese Calzones next!
Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 large heads)
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese (about 1 ¾ cups)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- zest from a large lemon, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until almost al dente.
- When about 2 minutes of pasta cooking time remain, add broccoli to pot. Continue cooking until pasta is al dente.
- Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and broccoli.
- While pasta is cooking, mix together ricotta, butter, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper.
- Microwave ricotta sauce for 30 seconds; stir well. Continue heating sauce at 30 second intervals, until sauce is warmed and smooth (about 1 ½ minutes total).*
- Add drained pasta and broccoli to ricotta sauce. Mix well, adding just enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to help sauce coat pasta.
- Taste pasta and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
What is your favorite quick weeknight dinner?