Basil, oh you beautiful herb you. It’s mild and slightly sweet, but with so much flavor packed into one leaf. You can use it in sauces, on appetizers, as garnish or in a cocktail. An herb so flexible, we’re bringing it back into a classic with a creamy and bright twist. Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto, coating al dente strands of spaghetti pasta.
Quick and easy, this is a simple busy day dinner that’s about to bring smiles to the hungry ones at the dinner table. Extra ricotta cheese on top of hot Lemon Ricotta Pesto adds extra creamy, dreamy texture. You won’t believe how quick you can whip up this restaurant quality pasta dish.
30 Minute Pasta Night
Admittedly, pasta night doesn’t happen too often around here. Seriously, I am at a loss as to why. It’s probably because I would eat all the pasta before anyone got a forkful. Mmm, sorry not sorry guys….but when the day is hectic and long and there is no plan for dinner, it’s so nice to just put on a pot of water and boil some water.
We grew up eating this Simple Tomato Sauce my mom would make that takes minutes to throw together. Now, I think Shea might grow up eating this Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto on the reg because it’s even easier than Simple Tomato Sauce.
Pine nuts toasted in the toaster oven results in a darker, roasty, nutty flavor. But in all honesty, you can be like, “toaster over, smoaster oven” and end up with a pesto that is lit. Fresh grated parmesan cheese? Pick it up in the cheese section already grated and ready to go.
If I could summarize the recipe in three steps it would be this:
- Dump all ingredients in the food processor and turn on.
- Add to hot spaghetti.
Okay, okay, if you actually look at the recipe, there are a few more steps. That’s only to make sure your basil and garlic are really fine. If you want the cliff notes version above, have at it my friend.
Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto
Are you on team pesto? It’s a pretty awesome team. Personally speaking, I’m on team anything that’s covered in sauce, but pesto is my particular brand of pasta happiness. So fragrant and flavorful. Not to mention full of bonus health benefits like stress reduction (need), anti-inflammatory (want), and an immune booster (have to have it), among other things.
So let’s blend it up with zesty lemon and a few other things and tell our bodies, “here, I’m doing this for you man.” If pasta is a no go for you, whether it’s tummy troubles, Celiac, or you’re not into carbs, Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto is perfect for zoodles. Check out this Avocado Pesto with Zucchini Noodles recipe for a little more on zoodles.
At the end of the day, the vehicle for this sauce is up to your hearts desire. Spaghetti, rigatoni, zoodle, or even smeared on toasted bread for an appetizer. What we can all agree on is that whipping up something tasty in 30 minutes or less is busy life food goals. Come and achieve your goals with this Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto.
Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pesto
Powerful sweet basil, rich toasted pine nuts and bright fresh lemon whipped together with creamy ricotta cheese for a zesty spin on traditional pesto.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4 servings
- Category: Pasta + Sauces
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup ricotta cheese, divided
- 1 lemon, zested
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ box or package spaghetti
- Toast pine nuts in 350°F oven, or toaster oven, for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
- Set a medium saucepan with salted water to boil. Once at a boil, cook spaghetti until al dente – about 7 to 8 minutes – or by package instructions. If cooking in advance, lightly oil to prevent clumping while it cools.
- In a food processor, add garlic cloves and basil. Pulse 10 to 15 times. Add parmesan, lemon zest, ¼ cup ricotta cheese and salt. Turn the food processor to ‘On.’
- With food processor running, slowly add olive oil and blend for 1 minute.
- In a large sauce pan, add cooked spaghetti and creamy lemon ricotta pesto. Sauté over low heat until pasta is evenly coated. Plate and top with remaining ¼ cup of ricotta cheese.