Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula

By • March 14, 2011 32 Comments

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Author Notes: I find myself making this dish after a long, hard day after work. It is bright yet filling pasta dish that will get you out of the kitchen in the time it take you to boil the pasta. melissav

Serves 2-3

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti [I use whole wheat but use whatever you prefer]
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from 1-2 lemons
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta, homemade or best quality
  • 4-6 tablespoons leftover ricotta whey or leftover pasta boiling water
  • 4 cups lightly packed arugua
  • salt
  1. Bring a pot of well salted water to boil
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice the garlic and put a small saute over low heat. Add the olive oil, the garlic, and a nice pinch of salt. Let the oil and garlic slowly heat up. You don't want the garlic to brown. You are just warming the oil and letting garlic infuse it.
  3. While the oil and garlic are doing their thing, zest the lemon and wash and dry the arugula.
  4. Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and reserve some pasta water if you don't have any ricotta whey.
  5. Once the pasta is boiling, turn the heat under the saute pan to as low as it goes and add the ricotta, lemon zest, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. You just want it all to warm it up while the pasta is cooking.
  6. Once you drain the pasta, add it to the saute pan and toss well. Add 1/4 cup of whey or cooking water and the arugula and toss again to coat and wilt the arugula. If you feel it is too dry, add up to 2 more TB of whey or cooking water. Taste for salt and add the juice from 1/2 a lemon and toss once more.
  7. Serve, topping each bowl with a few sprinkles of coarse salt or fleur de sel and a few drops of lemon juice.

More Great Recipes: Pasta|Entrees|Ricotta|Olive Oil

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Comments (32) Questions (1)


4 months ago burning-ice

I liked it. Unfortunately, my rucola did not survive from saturday to sunday, but even without it was good. I wonder if this could not also be a summer pasta salad? Just stir together the sauce ingredients and pour them over the cooled pasta? And then add the rucola just before serving? Maybe add some roasted pine-nuts...?


about 1 year ago smbpc

Since our garden is currently swamping us with fresh arugula we found this recipe enticing and delicious. We upped the red pepper flakes and the second time we cut the ricotta in half and used more pasta water. We found the original recipe overwhelmingly creamy, but with this change the balance was much better.


over 2 years ago Mianna

So perfect for some of these dreary spring days here! Thank you...


over 2 years ago creamtea

Will be trying this next week!


almost 3 years ago ginampen

Very impressive quick recipe. The biggest compliment was when my guest noted that you could distinctly taste each ingredient, but that everything melded together for an amazing tasting pasta. I made it with whole wheat spaghetti and used bit more lemon juice then called for just because I love lemon. I will be making this again!


about 3 years ago chimera

I made this from leftovers (arugula and ricotta staring back at me in the fridge) and I must say it's one of the easiest, tastiest, most satisfying pasta dishes I've had in a LONG time! My husband and I really enjoyed it - and the leftovers heated up nicely the next night. The arugula really held up in the fridge overnight - just as delicious the second night. Thanks for such an easy, fun, DELISH recipe!


about 3 years ago elltea

Delicious -- definitely a new weeknight staple! Next time I will use a slightly less bitter green to balance out the lemon zest.


over 3 years ago njhomechef

I love arugula, but sadly, the rest of my family does not. . .so I subbed in an equal amount of watercress--delicious!! Used DreamFields pasta to keep the fiber but lower the carbs, and part-skim ricotta to keep it light, and the recipe was still awesome!!!


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

How did I miss this?? I love how this looks. I'm making it this weekend for sure. Thanks for another great recipe Melissa!


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I couldn't wait that long. I made it tonight. I didn't have any arugula on hand so I blanched some swiss chard, chopped it and added that in. Sooooo good!


over 3 years ago melissav

Suzanne, so glad you gave it a try and enjoyed it. Hope you are having a nice weekend.


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Just had leftovers, and now I realize I will need to make some more. So easy and so delicious! It's a weekend of house-hunting, so not sure it's relaxing, but it's fun. Hope you're having a nice weekend too!


over 3 years ago PRST

Made this last night with a few minor changes. Added the crushed red pepper with the garlic and heated both in the olive oil. I used two large pinches of red pepper for a little more zip and two large cloves of garlic. I also increased the arugula to 4 cups packed arugula. Finishing with fresh cracked pepper and coarse salt, along with a drizzle of lemon juice and a really good olive oil, is essential. Homemade ricotta is the icing on the cake (I used a different recipe for that...)! Yummy, easy, and oh, so fresh tasting!!!


over 3 years ago daphne.hayer

I've made this dish ten times in the last year. It is now my favorite pasta dish.


over 3 years ago LLStone

I made this tonight and subbed gnocchi for pasta and added a couple of baby portabellas in the saute - it was delicious. I love a sauce w/ lemon, and I loved the peppery addition of the arugula. The sauce was really light and the gnocchi kind of hearty - a good combo for this cold January evening. I'll make this again!


over 3 years ago Texas Ex

Absolutely delicious! A nice, light start to the new year. Thanks!


over 3 years ago Texas Ex

Absolutely delicious! A nice, light start to the new year. Thanks!


over 3 years ago InspiredFlavors

Melissav, I just made this for dinner and it was fabulous! Thank you! I've added it to my own blog, inspiredflavors.com with full credit to you. I appreciate the inspiration!


over 3 years ago jenniebites

made this tonight with a glass of white in hand. i was so tempted to add leftover cranberries, or almonds, or prosciutto, but i head back. so glad i did as this is beyond the best dinner.


almost 4 years ago tucsonbabe

Absolutely delicious. I added Pecorino cheese for some "punch".


almost 4 years ago waterbabyandrea

I just tried this for the first time, but it won't be the last. It was the perfect thing after a tough Monday.


almost 4 years ago Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

Yum, this looks delicious. I'll be saving it to test out sometime soon!


about 4 years ago daphne.hayer

Just made this for dinner. It is definitely a keeper. I used baby spinach and added more garlic. Whenever I find any arugula I will definitely try it with that, too!