This lemon pasta recipe is perfect for summer! It is so easy and done in 30 minutes. The cheesy sauce is made by blending ricotta with peas and lemon. Top it with Parmesan and garden fresh peas, and you have a hearty vegetarian dinner! It’s so good!
I just sprayed my entire kitchen and my entire outfit with almond butter. You know how almond butter separates and gets all oily on top? I was following a tip from someone who said you can use a hand mixer to stir it up. Great idea right?? Right…… Just don’t do it while trying to film a story for Instagram. This is like Hand Mixer 101 guys. Hold onto the bowl (not your phone) while mixing. FAIL!
Of course I didn’t bother clearing off the counter before testing out this tip…instead I have almond butter all over that bag of hamburger buns, my embossed rolling pin, and Truman’s silly putty (that he, incidentally, calls ‘silly pudding.’ He is also nearly 2 years strong calling his sister Valentine ‘Valentime.’ Ah I hope they never grow up.)
There may be hidden smears of almond butter in the corners of my kitchen for years to come, but I promise there is absolutely no almond butter in this pasta (is that a thing??? Googling….yes, it’s a thing. But only if you’re vegan. (jk jk)
This fresh tasting lemon pasta is not vegan, because it has a ton of CHEESE in it. It is vegetarian, yet still incredibly satisfying. You can trust me when I say this because I’m not a vegetarian ;) (proof: last week I posted these amazing Honey Balsamic Ribs. Gimme all the meat.)
But I promise this pasta will be fine without it. The ricotta-pea combo makes for a very satisfying pasta sauce. You could definitely pair it with some grilled chicken to round out your meal if you like, or throw in some shredded rotisserie chicken. OOH! Or I just thought of this, I bet a sprinkle of crumbled bacon on top would be delicious too! Bacon’s always a good idea.
The sauce is super easy to make. Use a food processor or blender to pulse together some ricotta, peas, lemon, and parsley. It takes about 2 seconds. Who knew blended up peas would taste so good? We have to give a lot of the flavor points to our boy ricotta though. He’s the best. (Just look at how he shines on this Blackberry Ricotta Pizza with Basil. Or this Bacon Ricotta Crostini!! Yum.)
Another great thing about this lemon pasta is that it doesn’t skimp on the sauce. You know there’s nothing worse than dry pasta…but look at that cheesy mess.
How to make lemon pasta with fresh peas
I bought some fresh peas at the farmer’s market this week, which I realized I have never even cooked with before. How, why?? I’m no gardener and I’m so cheap that I never think to buy them. It cost $4.50 for 1 pound of fresh peas, and by the time I shelled them I had exactly one cup of fresh peas. They were SO good though.
But don’t worry, you can make this pasta with frozen peas (don’t use canned, it’s an offense to vegetables the world over.) I used frozen peas (that I had thawed quickly in the microwave) in the sauce that I blended up, and saved the fresh peas to add at the end. Fresh or frozen, this pasta is going to taste amazing! If you can get your hands on 1 cup of fresh peas, even better!
You could serve this with Garlic and Rosemary Skillet Bread and these Roasted Carrots with Dill! That would be such an amazing dinner!
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Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Fresh Peas
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 pound penne, ziti, or rigatoni pasta
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, for the pasta water
For the sauce
- 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, any kind
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 & 1/2 cups peas, frozen and thawed, or use fresh
- 1 (15-oz) tub ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 large lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, taste it
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt*
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup peas, fresh is best
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1-4 tablespoons olive oil, to drizzle
- crushed red pepper, to taste
- In a large, high sided skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat. Watch them carefully! Stir them constantly! These will burn in a hot minute and then you will be out 5 bucks worth of expensive nuts. Not that I'm speaking from experience...
- Once the pine nuts are toasty and golden and fragrant, remove to a plate and set aside.
- Fill the high sided skillet with water and add 1 tablespoon of salt (it should taste like seawater.) Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. It should only take about 10 minutes, but check the package. Don't overcook it. Nobody likes limp noodles.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain in a colander and return to the same pot. Drizzle with olive oil and stir.
- Meanwhile, make the ricotta pea sauce. In a food processor or blender, add garlic and a bunch of parsley*. I didn't measure this, just throw in what looks like it will be 1/3 cup. Add oregano and thyme, and pulse or blend until the parsley and garlic are finely chopped.
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups peas, the ricotta, the lemon zest and juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt (see note), and black pepper. Pulse until the mixture comes together but still has some texture to it, it shouldn't be completely smooth.
- Add the ricotta mixture to the pasta and stir it up. Add the remaining cup of peas.
- Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and a few drizzles of olive oil. You can add this to the pot or over each individual serving.
- If you are serving adults, add a few shakes of crushed red pepper, or if you are serving kids leave it out (or just add a little).
- Top each serving with some toasted pine nuts.
This recipe is from MyRecipes.com, it originally appeared in Sunset magazine.
More easy pasta recipes to try out!
20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet << this recipe is a fan favorite!
30 Minute Pesto Penne with Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes << sooo easy
Garlic Asparagus and Pasta with Lemon Cream << this is an oldie but a goodie.
More easy pea pasta ideas you will love!
Easy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad from Foodie with Family
Pasta with Fresh Peas, Lemon and Mint from The View From Great Island
Linguine with Lemony Pea Pesto, Artichokes, and Ricotta from Eats Well with Others
Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Fresh Peas and Ricotta from Foolproof Living
This was so delicious, light and fresh, perfect summer meal, I added some crushed almonds as well which added some extra crunch. Have you tried freezing this sauce?
Hi Suzanne! The almonds sound delicious :-) I don’t recommend freezing the sauce because the texture of ricotta changes when it’s frozen.
I used fresh basil instead of the parsley. It was delicious!
What a great recipe! I used hazelnuts (since we are hazelnut farmers and I always have them in the freezer) and added a quick saute of shrimp to the mix. Great quick spring dinner. And there is nothing wrong with using a good brand of frozen baby sweet peas. Once the peas are in the dish, it’s hard to tell much of a difference. (I plant peas every year, and every year my dogs eat the plants before I can harvest a single one. Fine with me – healthy snack and frozen peas are easier anyway)
Oh Deb I’m glad you are ok with it but my heart is breaking for your fresh garden peas!! I’m sure the dogs are very happy 😂 so glad you liked this dish, love the idea of using shrimp. Thanks so much for commenting!
I just wanted to make a comment that I made the mistake of using canned snap peas (eek!) after I couldn’t find any fresh or frozen ones at my grocery. BUT I wanted to report that the recipe still turned out fabulous! I can only imagine what it would taste like with fresh or frozen peas. Thanks for such a great recipe!
Fabulous report Rebekah! So glad it worked out and thank you for coming back to review and comment!
This was delicious!! I used frozen peas and left out pine nuts due to allergies. Definitely making again!!
Made this and the rosemary skillet bread. Both came out fabulous!
Fabulous! I’ve never been a fan of green peas, but had some leftover peas and ricotta taking up space in my freezer, so decided to give this recipe a try. Because I don’t like peas, I put all of the peas in the sauce, and it turned out great! I like having a light pasta dish to serve and enjoy in the summer. Thank you!
Made this last night and it was WONDERFUL! Definitely restaurant- and guest-worthy! It was quick and easy. We have allergy issues in our family so I made it with almond milk ricotta, fresh wheat-free pasta and fresh peas. It was perfect meat free meal!
Loved this dish! Always looking for new meals that don’t take forever but still carry enough flavor and complexity to enjoy. This dish is perfect for a late spring or summer meal and was a nice crowd pleaser in my home.
This dish was excellent and I agree with others that it is restaurant worthy! I only put half the amount of peas in the sauce and put the remaining on top. It was light and full of flavour. Will be serving to guests in the future.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Judy! So nice featuring those lovely fresh peas, right? Thank you for taking the time out of your day to review my recipe!
This was delicious! I’ve never made a pasta dish with Ricotta being the main “sauce” so I was hesitant however it was yummy and tasted very fresh. Reminds me of Spring!!
Yes it’s the perfect recipe for spring Sara! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe :) Thanks for the note!
This recipe caught my eye and I cannot wait to try it. I have a question. Have you ever considered including nutrition facts? I do have an app that will calculate nutrition if you type in all the ingredients for a recipe, but of course that is time consuming. This one, if 5 servings, calculated to 639 calories ~ just FYI. Thank you. I love your blog and recipes!
Hi Maureen! So happy you are enjoying the recipes! I don’t plan to add nutrition facts soon. Someday I will! Thanks for the info on this recipe!