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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
Looking for other spring pasta recipes? Here are a few to try:
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
Calories Per Serving: 462 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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- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon roasted pistachios, chopped (optional)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cold salted butter
- 3-4 lemon slices, chopped, and seeds removed
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese - whipped, if desired
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 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!