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close up of ricotta on top of pesto spaghetti

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.
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword creamy pesto recipes, lemon ricotta pesto, ricotta pesto, ricotta sauces
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 949kcal
Author Lauren


  • 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 pine nuts, 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.


Calories: 949kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1021IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 4mg