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The simplest Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Ricotta Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs for the spring nights ahead. This pasta is made with creamy ricotta cheese, it’s a touch garlicky, and tossed with caramelized lemon and fresh basil. Finish it off with spicy breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch. Perfect easy spring dinner that’s great any night of the week. Everyone in the house will enjoy this dish, veggies and all! Added bonus? This quick-cooking pasta uses just one skillet and is an impressive way to use up that springtime asparagus.

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

Clearly I am really leaning into the springtime recipes this week. I’m loving seeing all the vibrant spring produce pop up at the store. And with an abundance of fresh asparagus in the fridge I have one too many new ideas brewing in my head.

I’ve written them all down to save for the coming weeks. But this pasta was the recipe that really stood out and sounded most delicious.

It’s unique in that it’s super creamy but yet uses zero cream. The ricotta is really the secret here, but the caramelized lemons and fresh basil add all the flavor.

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

Here are the details…

As you can imagine, this comes together quick. Just about thirty or so minutes is all you need.

Start with the breadcrumbs. Toast them in a skillet with a pinch of spicy crushed red pepper flakes. Then finish with roasted pistachios and sea salt. So simple…I love the added crunch and flavor from the salty pistachios. They are one of my favorite nuts to incorporate into spring pasta and salad dishes.

Once the crumbs are out of the skillet, this is when I start boiling the pasta. Using a short-cut pasta is key for this recipe. I use rigatoni, which has plenty of ridges for the sauce to really cling to the pasta.

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

While the pasta cooks, caramelize the chopped lemon slices in butter. Then toss with lots and lots of fresh basil. What you will find different here is that I’m directing you to actually cook and eat the lemon peel. I know that sounds odd, but slowly cooking the lemon and allowing it to caramelize in the butter takes away all the bitterness and creates a truly wonderful, lemony flavor.

Yes, I know it’s weird, but trust me. I promise it will be so good!!

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

Finish it up

Next, cook the asparagus in the remaining butter and garlic. It’s cooks down in the lemon butter from earlier and creates even more flavor. Add a good splash of wine, then stir in the pasta, creamy ricotta, a sprinkling of parmesan, add the lemon basil mix and toss.

And that’s it. Serve this up while it’s warm with breadcrumbs on top. Every bowl at the table will come back to the sink clean. This really is that good.

It’s an easy, flavorful pasta that could not be better for a busy night. It’s still very snowy here in Colorado, so this is the perfect balance of cozy pasta and light springtime flavors.

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

Looking for other spring pasta recipes? Here are a few to try:

One Pot Lemon Basil, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta

Roasted Lemon Artichoke and Browned Butter Pasta

Caprese Pesto Pasta Bake

Lastly, if you make this Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Ricotta Pasta be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Ricotta Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 404 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, the breadcrumbs, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are toasted all over, about 4 minutes. Stir in the pistachios. Remove the from the skillet. Season with salt.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain.
    3. Meanwhile, set your skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the lemon. Cook until the lemon is caramelized, 2 minutes. Remove the lemon from the skillet and toss with the basil in a small bowl.
    4. To the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the asparagus is tender, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of chili flakes, cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the wine, then the pasta, ricotta, parmesan, and 1/2 of the lemon/basil. If needed, thin the sauce with the reserved pasta cooking water.
    5. Remove from the heat and serve immediately topped with breadcrumbs and additional basil. Enjoy!
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Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs |

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  1. 3 stars
    Flavors were good, but the ricotta did not get creamy and ended up being lumpy, so it didn’t have much of a sauce.

    1. Hi Bre,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback! Next time, I would try whipping the ricotta first, that should help! xx

  2. Love taking your recipes from the cookbook and making them vegan so I can indulge too!
    Switched out ricotta for a thicker cashew cream recipe & used nooch in place of the Parmesan. I didn’t have pistachios on hand but I had almonds, plenty of fresh asparagus and basil and it was *chef’s kiss*
    Thank you! I’m even thinking of having it for breakfast tomorrow ?

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Wednesday!! I so appreciate you giving this recipe a try and love to hear that it was enjoyed! Thanks for your feedback:) xT

  3. So delicious – what a wonderful combination of ingredients. My son and daughter-in-law use your recipes often and I have learned to make these for my husband and me when we get back from visiting them in Maine. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Janet,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xx

  4. Hi Tieghan! I’ve made this twice now — followed the recipe to a T, first time ricotta was cold and second time at room temp — both times I haven’t been successful with the sauce, it’s turned out lumpy. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

    1. Hey Renata, I’m so sorry this recipe hasn’t been working out! Is there anything you did differently? Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

      1. That’s the thing! I’m doing everything exactly as it says, I don’t know what it could be ??? Any guesses on what I could be doing wrong ? But taste wise — it’s amazing, I guess that’s a little win.

        1. I loved the flavours but mine also turned out lumpy and a little dry. Even added a cup of pasta water. I think I would add maybe some milk next time. But very tasty!!

          1. Hey Rene,
            Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed!! So sorry to hear yours was lumpy. Have the best week:) xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    I love this pasta, made me realize how delicious caramelized lemon is. This is my second time making, and for some reason the first time was good, but not great. I did a much better job this time! I’m def gonna make this all the time.

  6. 4 stars
    Loved *almost* everything about this recipe. Even after carmelizing the Lemons we still had a bitterness with each bite containing a peel. We will definitely makes this again but will be removing the lemon peel next time around.

    1. Hey LJ,
      Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a go! Have a great day! xxTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Thought I wouldn’t like the lemon to be honest but it was a perfect balance to the creamy ricotta

    1. Hey Jessie,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed!! Have a great Tuesday. xxTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe was so unique and refreshing, and very easy to put together! I loved the caramelized lemon peel. I would have never thought to do that without this recipe, and I did a little research and turns out lemon peels have a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants as well so I hope to start cooking with them more! A great Spring/ Summer meal!

    1. Hey Tori,
      Wonderful! That’s so great to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Have a great Friday:) xTieghan

  9. 2 stars
    Everything on this website looks so good and was recommended to me by a coworker so I decided to try this recipe. I found the lemon flavor to be bitter despite sauteing the lemons for five minutes. I also was not a fan of the ricotta as the sole pasta sauce I felt it lacked flavor however it does look really nice. I tried to adjust with additional parmesan and salt but in the end couldn’t get it much more palatable. I’m excited to try a different recipe though!

  10. 4 stars
    Loved how fast this comes together! Read through the whole blog, bc Tieghan goes through how she times everything out, and it worked perfectly. I would also suggest prepping all of your ingredients before starting to cook, because it does all cook very fast.
    I did not whip the ricotta, knowing that it was just going to melt into the noodles anyways.
    Last tip–don’t skimp on the lemon or basil or fresh garlic! Thats where all the pops of flavor come from. Without those, it was pretty plain creamy pasta.
    I can’t say that it’s a WOW dish, but it was super satisfying and soooo easy. A great spring dinner.

    1. Hey Madeline,
      Fantastic! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for making it! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

  11. 4 stars
    This recipe sounds so delightful but when I cooked it my ricotta turned into a lumpy congealed mess. Not creamy whatsoever. I used a good quality one too. Any advice?

    1. Hey India,
      So sorry to hear this! Was there anything you adjusted in the recipe? Was your ricotta room temp? Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

      1. It was NOT room temp. That makes sense now. Thanks for the response, Tieghan! I’m learning so much about cooking through your recipes.

          1. Hey Angel,
            Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed!! Have a great Tuesday. xxTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    This might be our favorite family meal. We nixed the lemon because the kids hated it the first time with the lemon. Without the lemon the entire family loves it! We make this weekly now! Along with pretty much every other Half Baked Harvest meal!

    1. Hey Tory,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed! Have a great Sunday:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Danielle,
      Happy Sunday! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  13. 2 stars
    I felt like this recipe could have been simplified, but even with all of the effort it just wasn’t that good. The breadcrumbs make the whole dish feel sandy until they’ve soaked up some liquid, at which point they don’t make any impact. The caramelized lemon barely added any lemon flavor, but added an extra step. I really wanted to like this recipe, but I was disappointed.

    1. Hey Eliza,
      So sorry you did not enjoy this recipe, please let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan