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Pesto ricotta pasta with basil garnish plated in red bowl.

Easy Pesto Ricotta Pasta (No-Cook Sauce)

Michele
Pesto Ricotta Pasta is simply made by combining rich and creamy ricotta cheese with fragrant, savory basil pesto, a touch of lemon and sharp pecorino cheese. It’s a beautiful recipe with a no-cook sauce that anyone can master and is ready in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta + salt for water
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese at room temperature (can use a 15-ounce container)
  • cups basil pesto at room temperature, either homemade or store-bought
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Juice from 1 lemon (Use more if you want!)
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Prep and gather all ingredients according to specifications above. Pull the ricotta and pesto out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature about 45 minutes before serving. Zest the lemon before squeezing it for juice. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add salt, then the pasta, stirring frequently.
    1 pound pasta
  • Mix the ricotta, pesto and lemon zest together in a large bowl.
    1 pound ricotta cheese, 1¼ cups basil pesto, Zest of 1 lemon
  • Cook the pasta until al dente and reserve some of the starchy pasta water. (You may or may not need the pasta water.)
    NOTE: For most of my pasta dishes, I recommend cooking the pasta until about 2 minutes before it is al dente so that it can finish cooking in the sauce. This is not the case with this recipe as the sauce is no-cook. So, when the pasta and sauce are mixed together, the relatively large amount of cold/room temperature ingredients lowers the temperature of the pasta and immediately stops its cooking. Consequently, the pasta should be drained/pulled out of the boiling water at the moment when it is exactly ready (al dente), and then mixed with the sauce.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain and transfer it to the ricotta mixture along with the pecorino cheese, lemon juice and black pepper. Mix well. Let the lemon juice get absorbed by the pasta and stir again.
    ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, Juice from 1 lemon, Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • If more moisture is needed, add a little pasta water, a couple of tablespoons at a time. It the mixture seems a bit juicy, let it sit for a couple minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the additional liquid.
  • Top off with a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve. Buon Appetito!
    Extra-virgin olive oil

Notes

  • Whole milk ricotta cheese is recommended here for best results.
  • Be sure to zest the lemon before squeezing it for juice.
  • I used wide pappardelle noodles in this recipe, but it will work with lots of pasta shapes that can hold up to the ricotta, such as rigatoni, fettuccine, ziti, penne rigate and paccheri.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Either bring the leftovers to room temperature before eating or heat them up in a small pan over medium low heat. The sauce will no longer be raw at that point, but it will still be very tasty. Freezing is not recommended.
 
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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