Looking for an easy, weeknight pasta? This creamy One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta Recipe tastes light and fresh, and is totally satisfying.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Finding a great tasting recipe you can pull together quickly and easily any night of the week feels like a gift. As one pot pasta recipes go, this one is tasty, creamy and cheesy with bright lemon flavors and a delicious creamy sauce. What on earth could be better than that?
This recipe was inspired by the New York Times version, and it’s a minimal effort, easy dinner with simple ingredients. And I can attest that it’s also very good with this fabulous garlic bread. Which, ahem, I ate a lot of.
Here’s some other great reasons to try it:
- You can use almost any type of pasta you have on hand. Spaghetti noodles would work just as well as Conchiglie or Gemelli.
- The pea’s are optional, but they burst in your mouth which is a wonderful thing, and they add flavor and texture to this simple pasta recipe.
- Bonus! It’s quick! You can pull this whole recipe together in about 30 minutes.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the full recipe and list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Pasta: Short grain varieties like conchiglie (shown above) or gemelli are favorites, but almost any pasta shape will taste great.
- Ricotta Cheese: One container of whole milk ricotta cheese for our lemon ricotta sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese: So much flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Add more if you like spicy.
- Kosher Salt/Black Pepper: Two essential seasonings.
- Shallot: Makes this dish really stand out.
- Lemon : We’ll use lemon juice and lemon zest for fresh flavor.
- Garlic: So good in this recipe.
- Peas: For the color and texture they bring to the party.
Step-By Step Instructions
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water. You want the pasta al dente.
- Pull a cup of pasta water out after the pasta cooks and before you drain it. We’ll need this to make the sauce.
- Next, finely slice a large shallot into half-moon shapes, about a half cup.
- In the same pot you cooked the pasta, add the shallots, olive oil and a little butter. Cook until soft over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds.
5. Add the cooked pasta back to the skillet, along with the cheeses, fresh lemon juice and zest, parsley, red pepper flakes and seasonings. Combine with half the pasta water which will make a creamy sauce.
6. Simmer to combine everything, then add the peas. Use as much of the saved pasta water as you need for a creamy texture. Let it simmer for a few minutes to let some of the liquid evaporate and the flavors mingle.
7. Top with more fresh parsley and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and it’s ready to eat!
Tips and Possible Variations
- You can use any type of pasta you’d like, but note that short grain varieties like the conchiglie shown here really hold the sauce well.
- Heed the note to only cook the garlic for only 30 seconds – it will quickly turn brown and bitter otherwise.
- Your shallot measurements don’t need to be exact. This pasta tastes best with about a half a cup, which will caramelize and soften quickly in butter and olive oil, so watch it closely as it cooks.
- You can use fresh ricotta if you’d like.
- This is a recipe that’s perfect for weeknights, or any time you don’t feel like hanging out in the kitchen all day.
- This is good as a side dish also, with chicken and maybe some maple roasted squash.
- It’s good enough to serve to guests, and if it were me, I’d start with an awesome salad, like this one with fresh strawberries, or this refreshing and crunchy green one.
- Make some Homemade Sourdough Croutons to crush and sprinkle over the top of this pasta for extra deliciousness.
- Guests or no guests, we always need a little dessert. Give me this outstanding fresh fruit galette or just some simple chocolate covered strawberries. Sounds so good!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can. I tested it with both, and the whole milk ricotta is definitely richer tasting, creamier and preferred in this recipe. Part-skim ricotta works well too and just tastes a bit lighter.
Short grain pastas are recommended because they hold a sauce better, but you can certainly use spaghetti noodles, bow tie, or almost any pasta shape you have on hand.
An airtight container is the best bet, for up to 3 days refrigerated.
Yes! Stir in some baby spinach instead of the peas, and fresh basil instead of the Italian Parsley. Either would be delicious in this recipe.
Note that the reserved pasta water is an ingredient in this recipe, and it’s important to use a whole milk ricotta cheese. …the pasta water is starchy and helps to make a creamy sauce, so don’t skip it. Start with a cup, and add a little more if needed to make a creamy consistency.
More Recipes to Try
- Ground Turkey Pasta Bake Recipe: Like a quick lasagne in a skillet.
- Lemon Hot Artichoke Dip: A delicious, creamy and cheesy dip.
- Maple Dijon Salad Dressing: A fantastic dressing with simple greens.
- Strawberry Cheesecake in a Jar: A reader favorite! So easy and pretty too.
- Italian Broccoli and Pasta Recipe: Yum on this one, easy and super good.
- Summer Pasta: A Studio Delicious favorite, make it year-round!
- Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake: Comfort Food at its finest! Webstory here.
- Parmesan Potatoes with Broccolini: A flavorful side dish!
If you’ve tried One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta, or any other recipe on Studio Delicious, please rate the recipe 5 stars and tell me how you liked it in comments below!
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One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- 1 pound Short grain pasta such as Conchiglie or Gemelli
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- ½ cup Shallots, sliced into half moon shape
- 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 15 ounce container Ricotta Cheese, whole milk About 1 ¾ cups of cheese. See notes.
- 1 Lemon, zest and juice
- 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, or 1 teaspoon regular kosher salt See notes
- ½ teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- ¼ cup Italian Parsley, chopped fine
- 1 ½ cups Reserved Pasta Water See notes
- ¾ cup Frozen Peas, defrosted
- In a large, deep skillet or dutch oven, cook the pasta according to package directions in salted water, and when it's cooked, pull one cup of the pasta water out and set it aside before draining. Put the cooked and drained pasta in a bowl and drizzle a little (teaspoon) olive oil over it to prevent it from sticking together, set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt the olive oil and butter together, then add the shallot with a pinch (⅛ teaspoon) of salt over medium low heat, stirring as needed to prevent burning and until the shallots are soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the pasta back to the pot, then add the ricotta cheese. Wash, dry and zest the lemon (which means, remove all of the zest of the lemon with a fine grater or zester.) Just the top bright yellow layer, not the white and bitter pith. Add it to the pasta, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the pot too. Watch for any stray seeds and remove them.
- Add the salt, ground pepper and red pepper flakes, half of the Parmesan Cheese (save the rest to garnish the top, or more) and half the chopped Italian parsley (use the rest for the top garnish too).
- Add a cup of the reserved pasta water, and turn the stove top to medium while you toss the pasta together with tongs or a wide spatula. I the mixture seems dry, add another half cup of the pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Add the peas, and toss to combine. Taste the pasta to see if you'd like a little more salt or pepper (almost always a good idea) and let it simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to combine and let some of the liquid be absorbed. Enjoy!
- Serve with more Parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of Italian Parsley, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- You can use a little less cheese than is called for here, but you might as well use the whole 15 ounce container, and the pasta is creamier too. A 15-ounce container is about one and three quarters cup.
- Use whole milk or part skim ricotta, but whole milk is preferred for its flavor and creaminess.
- If you don’t have Diamond Crystal Kosher salt – which I strongly encourage (a big box will last a while and is inexpensive) you’ll need a little less than is called for. Diamond Crystal is the least “salty” salt.
- The reserved pasta water is an ingredient in this recipe…so don’t skip it. The starchy water combined with the cheese and seasonings makes the luscious, creamy sauce.
- Super important to read the whole recipe before you begin
- Pay attention to the ingredient list and photos for the recipe
- If possible, prep your ingredients a little before you start
- Always use a sharp knife for safety
- Use the size of pan called for in the recipe
- For savory recipes, taste and season as you go
- Buy fresh, organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible
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