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Easy and Creamy Ricotta Pasta: Sicilian Recipe

Ricotta pasta is made with simple ingredients that come together to create a delicious and easy pasta recipe.

With just a few simple steps, you can create a pasta dish that is sure to become a family favorite.

This dish is perfect for those days when you want something light and satisfying but don’t feel like spending too much time in front of the stove.

 ricotta pasta

TABLE OF CONTENTS

This simple yet delicious Sicilian pasta recipe combines creamy, fresh ricotta cheese with lemon zest and basil for a bright, summery flavor.

Why You Will Love This Pasta And Ricotta

This is one of the most delicious and simple pasta recipes to prepare.

My mom often prepared it on hot Sicilian days. 

I want to list my favorite things about this pasta.

Minimal effort recipe: It is one of the pasta where the only ingredient that needs cooking is the pasta itself.

Preparing this sauce takes a few minutes on the clock and is a no-cook sauce.

Fresh flavor: The combination of ricotta and lemon zest creates a super fresh-tasting creamy sauce.

Handful of ingredients needed: Only 6 ingredients are needed for this simple recipe, including salt and pepper. 

What Ingredients You Need For This Healthy Ricotta Pasta

Pasta: Choose the pasta shape you prefer, but I recommend something with grooves or twists to hold the ricotta sauce, such as fusilli, tortellini, or penne pasta.

Ricotta cheese: The main ingredient in this recipe.

Use fresh ricotta – low-fat ricotta cheese or whole-fat ricotta are fine.

Lemon: Fresh lemon zest brings a zingy brightness that balances the richness of the ricotta.

Parmesan cheese: Parmesan cheese gives a richer flavor to the dish; you may not put it in if you prefer, or you can rather use pecorino cheese. 

Fresh basil: This aromatic herb adds a pop of freshness and color.

Salt and pepper: To season.

How To Make Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Step 1 

Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of salted water.

Step 2 

While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and lemon zest in a large bowl.

all ingredint for ricotta sauce

Mix well with a whisk or fork until all ingredients are incorporated.

mix ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon zest

A couple of minutes before the pasta is ready, add a little water from the pasta pot to the ricotta mixture to make it creamier.

creamy sauce

Step 3 

When the pasta is al dente, drain it with the help of a pitted ladle (if you want to drain it with a colander, remember to save a cup of the starchy pasta water) and add it to the bowl with the cheese mixture.

​Add some basil, too.

Stir well so that the sauce coats the pasta well, and add a little of the pasta cooking water, if necessary, to thin the sauce.

Serve with a sprinkling of grated lemon zest and black pepper. 

pasta with ricotta italian recipe

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it at least two minutes before the cooking time indicated on the package.
  • Reserve enough pasta water to add to the sauce if it’s too thick.
  • Use fresh lemon zest for the best flavor.
  • Use fresh, high-quality fresh ingredients.
  • Always taste and adjust the sauce before serving.
fusilli pasta with ricotta sauce

Variations To Simple Ricotta Pasta

While this ricotta pasta is delicious on its own, you can also add other ingredients to customize the dish.

Here are a few variations to try:

  • Add some cooked cherry tomatoes or tomato sauce and basil and chili flakes to the pasta for a fresh and summery flavor.
  • Cook some fresh spinach until wilted and mix it with ricotta cheese.
  • Sauté some mushrooms with garlic and mix them with ricotta cheese for a savory and earthy pasta dish.
  • Add some crispy prosciutto or grilled chicken breasts to add extra protein to your meal.
  • Swap out the lemon for an orange for a different flavor.
  • Top with pistacchio, pine nuts, or toasted breadcrumbs for extra crunch.
  • Have fun with the vegetables you like best. I think zucchini, broccoli, and even eggplant go great with ricotta cheese.

How To Serve Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This pasta is perfectly served as a main or side dish. 

You can serve this pasta as a main dish, preceded by a delicious appetizer bruschetta with zucchini and tomatoes, or if you prefer to serve a second course instead of an appetizer, I recommend a delicious chicken cutlet accompanied by an orange salad or simply fresh arugula salad.

Enjoy it with a nice and cool glass of white wine or rosè.

To finish your meal on a deliciously sweet note, I highly recommend enjoying a slice of this chocolate ricotta cake.

How To Store and Reheat

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Gently reheat in the microwave, stirring frequently, until heated through.

You may need to add a splash of milk or reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta.

Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and adding milk or water as needed to prevent sticking.

Freezing this dish is not recommended.

Faq’s 

What does ricotta cheese taste like?

Ricotta cheese tastes mildly sweet and creamy. It has a texture similar to cottage cheese curds but creamier.

Ricotta has a very subtle, nutty, buttery flavor from the whey protein in the milk. It’s not a very sharp or tangy cheese.

Can you heat ricotta cheese?

Yes, you can heat ricotta cheese, but it will become more liquid as it heats up.

Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh in this recipe?

You can use dried herbs, but fresh herbs will provide a brighter flavor.

Does ricotta melt when cooked?

It will not melt like string cheese, but because of its high moisture content, it becomes runny when subjected to cooking heat.

Does ricotta curdle in a sauce?

It can happen. In this recipe, it is mixed with hot cooking water, which can give creaminess to the ricotta cheese.

Is ricotta cheese a healthy choice?

Yes, Ricotta cheese can be a healthy choice when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It’s a good source of protein, low-fat cheese, and high in calcium.

How do Italians use ricotta?

Ricotta cheese is a versatile ingredient in Italian cuisine and is used in a variety of dishes. It is commonly used in pasta dishes, such as stuffed shells and ravioli.

Ricotta is also used in desserts, such as cannoli, cheesecake, and ricotta pie.

Creamy Ricotta Pasta Recipe

creamy ricotta pasta pintarest

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Yield: 2 portion

Ricotta pasta recipe

ricotta pasta recipe

You'll love this creamy and easy Sicilian ricotta pasta. It's the perfect dish for a cozy night in or for a special occasion. Give it a try!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb short pasta
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of pasta water
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot filled with generously salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, lemon zest, and pepper. Mix well using a whisk or fork until fully combined.
  3. A couple of minutes before the pasta finishes cooking, add a small amount of pasta water to the ricotta mixture to create a creamier consistency.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain using a slotted spoon (alternatively, use a colander, but remember to reserve a cup of pasta water).
  5. Add the drained pasta to the bowl with the ricotta mixture and fresh basil. Stir thoroughly to ensure the sauce evenly coats the pasta. If necessary, add some pasta cooking water to thin the sauce.
  6. Serve the pasta topped with a sprinkle of grated lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 858Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 1289mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 50g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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More easy pasta recipes:

Pasta with fresh tomatoes is a classic Italian dish that is simple and delicious.

Pasta alla nerano, features zucchini, pasta, and a creamy cheese sauce.

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca, is a super flavorful sauce thanks to the capers and olive.

Pasta Alla Gricia is a simple pasta from Rome.

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Claire

Friday 14th of July 2023

This was such a lovely summery dish!! And so easy to make. I loved how the sauce went so creamy when I added some of the pasta cooking water. I used a Radiatori pasta that I bought in a little deli in the city and it was perfect. I also added some spinach like you suggested :) Great recipe and I'll make it again

Jane

Thursday 13th of July 2023

I have to say, this is one of the best pasta dishes I've ever made. It's so simple and easy and yet it has such a delicious summery flavor. Definitely going to be making this again!

Jenn

Thursday 13th of July 2023

This pasta was so creamy and smooth, and was so perfect for dinner! I served it when my parents came over, and they loved it so much, they asked for the recipe! Thanks!

Lisa

Thursday 13th of July 2023

I was looking for a quick and easy side dish for a family dinner and this one was perfect. Even the kids loved it.

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