Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Garlic and Zucchini

June 29, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 3-4
Author Notes

Since first trying homemade ricotta a few months ago, I crave it whenever I come home from a draining day. It is really a breeze to mix up a batch but if seems like too much just pick up a batch at the market on your way home. Mixed with pasta, lemon, garlic, and zucchini it is the perfect dish to soothe a weary soul. - melissav —melissav

Test Kitchen Notes

This made for a delicious and easy dinner. Melissa's instructions are impeccable--the timing was perfect and the seasoning was well balanced. The red pepper flakes and lemon really brightened the dish--I squeezed a little lemon juice over mine at the end. A perfect after-work meal.--I am thrilled to recommend it as an Editors' Pick. - drbabs —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 box of spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta, preferably homemade (see my white potato pizza for a recipe)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
  • 2 zucchini, sliced in half, each half sliced into 4-5 slices lengthwise, each stick cut into small cubes
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons red pepper flakes, to test
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  1. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place the garlic and a pinch of salt in a saute pan with 3 TB olive oil over low heat. Gently cook the garlic chips until they just start to turn lightly golden. By this point, your water should be boiling.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water.
  4. Meanwhile, crank the heat on the saute pan to medium high and add the zucchini, red pepper flakes, generous pinches of salt and ground black pepper. Spread the zucchini in one layer and let cook undisturbed for 1.5-2 minutes. Stir and let cook until golden on other side and cooked through. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat.
  5. Drain the pasta once al dente (reserving a few TB of pasta water or, if you made your own ricotta, you can use the leftover ricotta whey). Add the pasta to the saute pan and stir. Then add the ricotta, lemon zest, and remaining 1 TB of olive oil. If it needs a little more moisture, add some reserved pasta water or ricotta whey. Taste for seasoning and dig in.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katie
  • Victoria Palmer
    Victoria Palmer
  • melissav
  • drbabs

8 Reviews

Cam H. July 21, 2022
Absolutely delicious - can't wait to make it again! Thanks for sharing it with us, melissav :)
christie January 9, 2017
Fantastic, made with gnocchi instead of spaghetti :)
ghainskom July 12, 2014
Excellent weeknight recipe, at least for me: my silly kids turned down the zucchini cubes. Thank you for the recipe!
Kelly D. November 14, 2013
Made this for dinner tonight. What an excellent combo! I've been making another zucchini pasta dish, but it requires a lot of heavy cream. I used low fat ricotta with this and I loved it! Delicious and satisfying. Thanks for the recipe! Love the lemon zest!
Katie August 8, 2013
This is a great recipe! I added roasted green chiles and substitued squash for zucchini and then devoured ever morsel. The homemade ricotta makes it extra special; I highly recommend making this dish! Thanks for sharing.
Victoria P. July 22, 2013
Making this for the second time for dinner tonight! It's quickly becoming my favorite zucchini pasta!
melissav July 15, 2010
Drbabs - so glad you enjoyed the pasta. Thanks for the EP recommendation!
drbabs July 16, 2010
Melissa, I loved it and am looking forward to making it again.