Pasta

Ricotta Pasta Sauce: 2 Ways

May 12, 2020 (Last Updated: May 17, 2020) by Emily

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The most delicious Ricotta Pasta Recipe made 2 ways, with fresh and zingy lemon zest or lots of parmesan and cracked black pepper. This no-cook pasta sauce is so easy and effortless the hardest part is boiling the pasta!

An overhead shot of ricotta pasta in a rustic bowl sitting on a wooden surface

I love a super simple pasta recipe, especially when it’s been a long day, I’m hungry, tired and just need to eat.

This ricotta pasta just tastes incredible almost like a super light cacio e pepe or mac and cheese but it’s fresher, lighter and so much easier!

This is a no-cook pasta sauce just like our Salsa di Noci recipe so all you need to do is mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl then toss with cooked pasta and a little reserved pasta water.

How to get a smooth and creamy ricotta sauce that’s not grainy

There’s a super simple and easy method to make sure the ricotta sauce is smooth and creamy and not grainy or lumpy.

First, drain the ricotta from the liquid to make sure there isn’t any excess water ( I do this by letting the ricotta sit in a sieve for a few minutes allowing any liquid to drain off).

Then pass the ricotta through a sieve into a mixing bowl by pressing it through with a spoon.

The ricotta will look smooth and delicious, perfect for making into a quick pasta sauce.

An overhead shot of ricotta lemon pasta in a bowl with fresh lemon zest

How to make Ricotta Pasta: 2 Ways

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your desired pasta shape until al dente making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Pass the ricotta through a sieve (also see the video for reference) and add to a mixing bowl with parmesan, salt and a generous amount of cracked black pepper (photos 1 & 2).

Step by step photos showing how to make ricotta pasta with cheese or lemon

Lemon ricotta version

Follow the same instructions as above but replace the parmeasn with lemon zest and instead of a generous amount of black pepper just sprinkle in a small amount (photo 3).

Drain the pasta once cooked then add it back to the pot. Add the ricotta mixture and stir until completely coated (photos 4).

Two photos showing how to emulsify pasta sauce with water for a creamy sauce

Add a splash of pasta water and stir again to loosen, the pasta sauce should be smooth and creamy, serve (photo 5 & 6).

Top tips for making this recipe

  • Drain any excess liquid from the ricotta before starting (I do this by letting the ricotta sit in a sieve for a couple of minutes letting any excess liquid drain off).
  • You can use any pasta shape you like for this pasta sauce but I find a shorter pasta shape works best!
  • It’s always a good idea to reserve more pasta water than you’ll probably need (just in case). I reserve 1/2 cup but you may not need all of it depending on the consistency of the ricotta.
  • This pasta sauce is best served immediately as it’ll thicken and lose it’s creamy texture as it cools.
  • This recipe won’t freeze well but it’s so quick and easy to make you don’t need to.

A side shot of pasta shells with a ricotta sauce in a ceramic bowl

More simple pasta recipes you might like

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5 from 1 vote

Ricotta Pasta

The most delicious Ricotta Pasta Recipe made 2 ways, with fresh and zingy lemon zest or lots of parmesan and cracked black pepper. This no-cook pasta sauce is easy and effortless the hardest part is boiling the pasta!
Course pasta
Cuisine Italian
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 534kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

Cheese and pepper version

  • 15 oz short pasta (4 cups / 400g)
  • 1 cup full fat ricotta (250g)
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water (120ml)
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make lemon ricotta pasta

  • 15 oz short pasta (4 cups / 400g)
  • 1 cup ricotta (250g)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water (120ml)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions

Ricotta cheese and pepper version

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your desired pasta shape until al dente making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Pass the ricotta through a sieve and add to a mixing bowl with parmesan, salt and a generous amount of cracked black pepper.
  • Drain the pasta once cooked then add it back to the pot. Add the ricotta mixture and stir until completely coated.
  • Add a splash of pasta water and stir again to loosen, the pasta sauce should be smooth and creamy, serve.

Lemon ricotta version

  • Follow the same instructions as above but replace the parmeasn with lemon zest and instead of a generous amount of black pepper just sprinkle in a small amount.
  • Drain the pasta once cooked then add it back to the pot. Add the ricotta mixture and stir until completely coated.
  • Add a splash of pasta water and stir again to loosen, the pasta sauce should be smooth and creamy, serve.

Notes

  • Drain any excess liquid from the ricotta before starting (I do this by letting the ricotta sit in a sieve for a couple of minutes letting any excess liquid drain off).
  • You can use any pasta shape you like for this pasta sauce but I find a shorter pasta shape works best!
  • It's always a good idea to reserve more pasta water than you'll probably need (just in case). I reserve 1/2 cup but you may not need all of it depending on the consistency of the ricotta.
  • This pasta sauce is best served immediately as it'll thicken and lose it's creamy texture as it cools.
  • This recipe won't freeze well but it's so quick and easy to make you don't need to.

Nutrition

Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 386IU | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 2mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    May 17, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Ooh I can’t wait to try both versions of this! I know already that I’m going to love both! Such a great quick meal too, no one can say they don’t have time to cook when given ideas like this!5 stars

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