Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Arugula


1 lb Mezzi rigatoni or any other short pasta
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 cup finely grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons), plus extra wedges for serving
2 cups arugula
Chili flakes, for serving
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for serving
Thinly sliced or torn basil leaves, for serving (optional)


Step 1: Cook the Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

In the same pot or a large skillet, combine the ricotta cheese, finely grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Incorporate Pasta Water

Gradually stir in about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency with more pasta water if necessary.

Step 4: Combine Pasta and Sauce

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss vigorously to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated with the creamy lemon ricotta sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more of the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 5: Add Arugula

Gently fold in the fresh arugula until itโ€™s wilted slightly from the heat of the pasta.

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