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Walnut Ricotta Lemon Pasta

Walnut Ricotta Lemon Pasta

This Walnut Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe is a light and simple vegetarian pasta dish that comes together in under 30 minutes!

Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Keyword lemon curd, pasta, ricotta, walnuts
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 hefty servings (or 4 with a small side salad)


  • 1/2 pound dried pasta (I used spagetti but any shape will work)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (+ more for serving if you like it with some heat)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 8 oz whole milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (look for a vegetarian version if you can find it), or any hard salty cheese will work here
  • Fresh basil or thyme , for serving (can also use a sprinkle of dried oregano)
  • salt / pepper , to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Strain the pastsa, holding back 1 cup of pasta water and set everything aside.

  2. Meahwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Add garlic cloves and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes or just until starting to get some color (if they start to turn dark before 3 minutes, turn your heat down).

  3. Add walnuts and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes or until the nuts have started to turn darker and everything is very fragrant. Remove from heat and sprinkl in 1/2 tsp salt.

  4. Add the ricotta to a serving platter and pile the pasta over it. Pour the garlic-walnut mixture (including any remaining oil over the pasta), along with the lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 2 Tbsp pasta water. Toss until combined and a thick sauce has formed. Add more pasta water, 1 Tbsp at a time, if the sauce doesn't thicken up.

  5. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Serve with some torn fresh basil or thyme leaves or a dried sprinkle of oregano flakes. Serve right away.