Foodie, Recipes

Lemon Ricotta Pasta With Arugula

Servings: 4-6

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 12-15 mins


  • 1 lb short pasta, like penne or rigatoni (I used Mezzi rigatoni)
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons plus extra lemon wedges for serving
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • Chili flakes for serving
  • Olive oil for serving
  • Thinly sliced or torn basil leaves for serving (optional)


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Make the sauce in the same pot: add the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper to taste and stir until well combined.
  3. Stir or whisk in ½ cup of pasta water until smooth.
  4. Add the pasta and stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated adding more pasta water to loosen up the sauce as needed for a smooth sauce.
  5. Stir in the arugula.
  6. Serve immediately and top with remaining  sauce from pan and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with extra parmesan, red-pepper flakes and torn basil, if using and extra lemon wedges on the side.

Recipe Notes

  • This pasta and sauce gets thicker as it sits so it’s VERY important to serve right after it’s made. To make the sauce more creamy, you can add some milk or cream instead of some of the pasta water. 
  • Cooking water: add pasta water gradually, you might not need all of it. You don’t want to water down the flavor, but only make the pasta nice and moist. If you think the reserved water is not enough, you might add a few Tbsps of milk or cream
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 4-5 days in the fridge. You can reheat on stovetop or microwave adding a little water, broth  or cream to loosen up the sauce but this dish is BETTER eaten the SAME DAY as it will never be as creamy as it was when first cooked.

Adapted from Cooking NY Times