I love this light and zesty lemon ricotta pasta with spinach, it makes a delightful and healthy weeknight meal ready in 10 minutes, from start to finish!
This no-cook sauce is a winner, it’s one of my go-to recipes from when I was at uni and can be made in no time. Mix fresh and creamy ricotta, parmesan cheese, garlic, good extra virgin olive oil and refreshing lemon. Easy peasy, but totally delicious and perfect for your midweek carb cravings, especially this summer.
I’m a big fan of lemons, their juice and zest are enough to transform a simple dish into something that tastes pure sunshine. Plus, I LOVE ricotta, especially when I happen to buy fresh and creamy ricotta from the cheese counter in Italy.
To make this easy pasta dish healthier and more filling, don’t forget to add your greens. I like ricotta + spinach combo, however, you could use other nice veggies like asparagus, courgettes, arugula…
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- White or whole grain pasta
- Parmesan cheese
- Baby spinach
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
HOW TO MAKE THE LEMON RICOTTA PASTA SAUCE:
- Combine ricotta, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper to a bowl
- Mix well, taste and make sure you’re happy with the seasoning
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta
- Then add spinach to the pasta boiling water in the last minute of the cooking time
- Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water) and return it to the pan
- Add ricotta sauce and cooking water, stir well
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, shaved Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges for freshly squeezed lemon juice… YUMMY.
Spinach: blanched (quickly boiled) spinach works fine in this recipe, and cooking spinach and pasta all in one pot saves time and washing up. However, make sure not to overcook spinach, that will result in the loss of nutrients, flavor and bright green color.
Variations: in the last minute of cooking time, in place of spinach, you can add frozen peas. Or you can go for more creative variations like sauteed asparagus, courgettes or artichokes. Sometimes, I simply add fresh and raw ingredients like shredded arugula, basil or cherry tomatoes, they all work beautifully with lemon and ricotta!
If you make this vibrant lemon ricotta pasta with spinach, leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram.
I would love to hear from you!
Lemon ricotta pasta with spinach
- 1/2 lb pasta (spaghetti, linguine, penne, fusilli...) (gr 220)
- 6 oz fresh baby spinach (gr 170)
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta (about gr 230)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve (gr 35)
- 1 large unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
- 1 lemon cut into 4 wedges, to serve (optional)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta sauce.
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt and a good pinch of pepper.
- Stir until well combined, taste and make sure you're happy with the seasoning.
- In the last minute of the pasta's cooking time, add spinach to the pot. Stir well and push the leaves down to submerge them in water.
- After max 1 minute, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain.
- Return pasta and spinach to the pan, add the ricotta sauce and part of the reserved cooking water. Stir well to evenly coat the pasta in the sauce and add more cooking water as needed for a smooth and creamy sauce.
- Serve immediately and garnish with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lemon wedges (for extra freshly squeezed juice, but I leave it optional). Plus, I love adding a good pinch of red pepper flakes, you might give it a go!