This easy vegetarian recipe for pasta with lemon ricotta spinach sauce cooks up in no time and is packed with flavor!
Why we love this recipe
Oh, this pasta recipe! This is one of my favorite Dinner in a Hurry, Secret Weapon Recipes for when I want to cook up something reasonably healthy, super flavorful…and QUICKLY.
Say, for example, when I have been out way too late the night before at a hockey game.
(PS: WHO AM I? Not only do I know nothing about hockey, but I think I was able to see the puck about twice during the entire game. But when your home town team makes the playoffs, you gotta go!)
Anyway. This delectable pasta requires five ingredients, less than 30 minutes and is packed with all kinds of good and good for you flavors.
Ingredients you need to make this recipe
- Baby Spinach
- Parmesan Cheese
- Lemon Zest and Juice
Isn’t that a nice short list? I’m not even going to sass you about making your own ricotta for this one the way I usually do, because supermarket ricotta actually works just fine for this one. Although if you haven’t stayed up past your bedtime and you want to, go for it!
Here’s how to make this recipe
STEP 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 12 ounces of short pasta (we love campanelle!) and cook according to package instructions.
STEP 2: 1 minute before the pasta is done, add 9 ounces of baby spinach and stir for another minute until pasta is done and spinach is cooked. Scoop out a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
STEP 3: Now make the sauce! Add a cup of ricotta, a half cup of freshly grated Parmesan, the zest and juice from one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the pasta pot and stir until well combined.
STEP 4: Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce and stir until smooth. Add the pasta and continue to stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce.
STEP 5: Divide the pasta among garnish with grated Parmesan and serve it up!
When pasta cooks, it releases starch into the water (that is what makes it a little cloudy. And since hopefully you have thoroughly salted your water, at the end of the pasta cooking time you have a starchy, salty water that is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for making or loosening up a light pasta sauce. It’s truly magical!
Start with the zesting! There are all kinds of fancy lemon zesting tools out there, but I love my microplane zester – it does the job quickly and you can also use it for cheese. Simply drag the lemon over the zester and little chopped lemon peel pieces will come out the other side. As for juicing, you can get as fancy as having a citrus juicer that squishes the juice out and leaves the seeds, or you can simply squeeze that lemon juice into a prep bowl with your hands.
Pop your question in the comments and I will answer pronto!
It just doesn’t get any better, quicker or more delicious!
Could you leave us a review?
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear how it came out for you! I’d be super grateful if you could leave a star rating (you pick how many stars! 🌟 ) and your thoughts in the Comments section.