Pasta with Ricotta and Peas is a quick and easy dish, perfect for a satisfying mid-week supper. The ricotta creates a light, creamy sauce and the peas provide the perfect, sweet bite.
I was first inspired to make this dish when I happened to have leftover fresh, English peas and ricotta from making my Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Prosciutto. It’s since become a staple along with my other favorite green pea pasta recipes.
- Peas- I suggest using fresh English peas in the spring and summer months if you’re able to find them, but frozen peas are great in this recipe. I use frozen peas most of the time as I like to make this year long.
- Ricotta- Just as with the peas, fresh is best. If you can find good quality, fresh ricotta imported from Italy, this is a great place to use it. Regular store bought ricotta is just fine too!
- Pasta- I usually use a shell shaped pasta, but happened to use pipe rigate in this rendition. Orecchiette, penne or mezzi rigatoni would work well too.
- Onion- I prefer to use a shallot or spring onion for their mild flavor, but any white or yellow onion will do!
Step by Step Process
The sauce comes together so quickly that you can bring your water to a boil and cook the pasta while you prepare the sauce.
I start the sauce by sautéing some chopped shallot. Then, I add the peas. Keep in mind fresh peas need slightly longer to cook than frozen peas.
After the pasta’s cooked, reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Then, add the pasta, ricotta, lemon zest, and parmigiano reggiano (or parmesan) to the pan with the peas. Toss to combine, adding enough pasta water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency. Season with salt, to taste, and add lots of black pepper to counter balance the sweet peas.
Plate up the pasta and top with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and crack of black pepper. Add grated parm on top too, as desired. Mangia!
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Use peas straight from frozen if you’re not planning to use fresh, English peas.
- Add lemon juice to bump up the lemon flavor even more.
Ricotta does not melt like other cheeses. It’s made from recooking the leftover liquid used to make cheeses, such as mozzarella. Ricotta will, however, create a rich creamy sauce when thinned out with pasta cooking liquid.
You should not eat the shells of shelling peas, such as English peas. The pods are inedible and should be removed and discarded.
Related Pasta Recipes
- Pasta with Peas and Pancetta
- Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Peas and Favas
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- Bucatini All’Amatriciana
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Pasta with Ricotta and Peas is a great, easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love. The ricotta creates a light and creamy sauce, and the peas provide the perfect sweet bite.
- ½ lb shell pasta or pasta of choice*
- ½ shallot, finely chopped*
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup fresh English peas removed from the pod, or 1 cup frozen green peas*
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh
- ½ cup parmigiano reggiano cheese or domestic parmesan, freshly grated, plus more for serving*
- Zest of ½ lemon
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 1-2 minutes short of package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Sauté shallot: While the pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, followed by the chopped shallot. Season with salt and sauté 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
- Cook peas: Add peas to pan and season with salt. Add 1 small ladle-full of pasta cooking water to the pan and boil peas until just cooked through, about 1 minute for frozen peas and 2-3 minutes for fresh peas.
- Toss pasta with sauce and serve: Add cooked pasta to pan with peas, and toss to combine. Stir in ricotta and parmesan, along with a ladleful of pasta water. Simmer until mixture thickens to a creamy sauce. Taste for seasoning. Stir in lemon zest. Spoon into serving dishes and top with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a crack of black pepper and more grated parmesan, as desired. Enjoy.
You can easily double or triple this recipe, depending on how many people you’re serving.
I actually used pipe rigate pasta in these photos but usually use shell pasta. You can also use orecchiette, penne or mezzi rigatoni.
Instead of using a shallot, you can substitute a spring onion or 2 tablespoons chopped of any white or yellow onion.
13oz of fresh peas in the pod should yield about 1 cup of shucked peas.
If you’re using pre-grated parmesan cheese, start with 1/4 cup and add more as desired. The pre-grated cheese is more dense than cheese freshly grated with a microplane.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Saute, boil
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1/3 of pasta
- Calories: 625
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 150mg
- Fat: 30g
- Saturated Fat: 12g
- Unsaturated Fat: 18g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 67g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 22g
- Cholesterol: 54mg
Keywords: pasta with ricotta and peas, pasta with ricotta and lemon, shells with peas, pasta and peas