Creamy Lemon Pasta Recipe (Under 30 Minutes)

When citrus season arrives, I simply can’t get enough. I always have half a dozen lemons ready to go no matter what time of year, and I go through them at a regular clip. When the acidic fruits are in season, then my stock of lemons, limes, oranges, and the like doubles and triples. 

Why on earth do I go through so many lemons? I add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon to just about everything I make. The vibrant, acidic juice perks up everything it touches, and lemon zest adds a freshness that cannot be beaten. Whether sweet or savory, few things emerge from my kitchen without at least a touch of lemon.

A surplus of lemons led to the development of this creamy lemon pasta recipe. One of my favorite Italian flavor combinations is lemon and ricotta, and it serves me well in the pasta sauce. It’s creamy, savory, salty, tangy, and comforting, all in under 30 minutes. Perfect for dinner any night of the week!

The Key to a Creamy Sauce

While you can certainly get a creamy sauce from heavy cream, I wanted to make a cheesier pasta that manages to feel a bit lighter. The combination of ricotta cheese, Parmesan, and pasta water is the ticket.

For a creamier, dreamier sauce, send the cheeses and lemon through a food processor. Whipping the ricotta and other ingredients makes the sauce velvety smooth. A dose of starchy pasta water helps thin it down and make it even creamier.

The Creaminess Won’t Last Forever

Note that while this sauce is creamy and delicious, it doesn’t hold its creaminess as long as a standard cream-based sauce. Serve and enjoy right away for the best results. If it dries up on you a bit, add pasta water, regular water, or cream a splash at a time and toss.

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Easy Tweaks

Here are some easy changes you can make to the recipe:

  • Swap the ricotta cheese for cottage cheese. Don’t skip the blending step if you use cottage cheese to ensure a smooth, creamy sauce.
  • For a bit of spice, add a big pinch of red pepper flakes along with the garlic.
  • For some added nutrition and a pop of green, add 3 to 4 cups of fresh baby spinach to the pan after cooking the garlic, stirring until it wilts. Frozen green peas or frozen chopped broccoli are also good choices—add up to a cup. 
  • Top with sliced cooked chicken breasts for an extra dose of protein.

Pasta Night In 30 Minutes or Less

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Cee Gei
Author: Cee Gei

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