My boyfriend Reed LOVES pasta, he would probably eat it for almost every meal. Now, don’t me wrong I love it too, but sometimes it can just be so heavy. I wanted a cheesy pasta recipe that didn’t make me feel as full as a mac and cheese. Enter the magical power of lemon juice – FRESH lemon juice.
The lemon cuts the fat of the ricotta and the pancetta to produce a much brighter pasta that works in the summer but is still comforting and filling enough for the winter. Not kidding, the week I developed this pasta, I ended up making it twice it was so good.
Now, substitution-wise, you can certainly replace the goat cheese with a full cup of ricotta and you can omit the pancetta if you’d like to do this dish meat-free (you can also add chicken if you want to add more protein!). The one thing I don’t recommend is not using whole-milk ricotta. That is really the backbone of the cheese sauce so I highly recommend sticking to whole-milk.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Lemon Ricotta One Pot Pasta with Crispy Pancetta
- 1 box large tube shaped pasta ex. rigatoni
- 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup herb goat cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 cup diced pancetta
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 whole lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 2 cups spinach or arugula
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta – once cooked reserve 1 cup of the water then drain the pasta
- In the same pot, sauté the pancetta until crispy then place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Keep about a tbsp of the rendered fat in the pot then add garlic and cook until just brown
- Add all the cheeses, the basil, pancetta, and the zest and juice of the whole lemon. Stir to combine then add about a half cup of the pasta water and whisk together until smooth
- Add the pasta and stir to ensure all pieces are coated with the cheese mixture, add more pasta water if the sauce starts to clump
- Add spinach and stir to combine until the spinach begins to wilt – serve and enjoy!