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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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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 | halfbakedharvest.com

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: 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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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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!

Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Would it be possible to make this with cream cheese instead of ricotta?? I have all of the other ingredients, but I am out of ricotta and have lots of cream cheese. wondering if this might still work??

    1. Hey Allison,
      I’ve not tried this with cream cheese but you could certainly give it a try! I also think using 1 cup of heavy cream plus some parmesan would also work well. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This was a big hit in our house!

    We grilled the asparagus the night before on
    charcoal bbq, and it was lovely. Asparagus + lemon + parmesan is a great combo. I used pistachios, and it was really nice, both for taste ans texture.

    I’ll make it again!

    One thing: this was definitely more than 15mins for prep. It was worth it, but for planning purposes, even for experienced cooks, it’s closer to 45 minutes.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hey Virginia,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! xTieghan

  12. This sounds wonderful! I’m thinking of making this with peas and lobster. Where do you add the other 1/2 of the lemon- basil?
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Lorie,
      I think that would be fantastic. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  13. Hey Tieghan this is Gail from Sleepy Hollow—Just finished this wonderful pasta dish for my son and daughter-in-law.We are just singing your praises once again! Delicious. The lemon is soooo good in this recipe. Thanks for another keeper

    1. Hey Gail,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Happy Easter 🌷Tieghan

    1. Hey Molly,
      So sorry to hear this. Was there anything you may have adjusted in the recipe? Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

  14. I made this tonight for my hubby and me – all according to the directions with the exception of adding an equal amount of spinach – and it was very tasty! It was a dish I could see in the future for meatless Monday or a Friday during Lent. Thanks for the great recipes and favorite things. Happy Easter, Tieghan!

    1. Hey there,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so excited that it was enjoyed! Happy Friday! xTieghan

  15. 3 stars
    I wanted to love this but all the directions and portions seemed off. I think the recipe would’ve been a lot better with half the amount of pasta (more toppings). Further, I think the lemon needed far longer to carmelize and the asparagus far longer to get tender. With this amount of pasta, I didn’t feel like the simple ingredients came through and might add tomatoes, sun dried, or kalamatas to the next batch.

  16. I made this and it turned out very bitter. Not sure what I did wrong… Maybe I just needed to remove more of the pith from the lemon peel? Other than that we liked it!

    1. Hey Megan,
      So sorry to hear this!! It is key to really caramelize the lemon to avoid any bitterness. I hope this helps for next time! xTieghan

  17. 5 stars
    Made 2 small adjustments: 1) added some sweet peas and sliced mushrooms; 2) used homemade pesto in lieu of basil and pistachios. Absolutely fabulous dish. Thank you.

  18. 5 stars
    This was a great dinner and very easy to make. I love the bite that the lemon sections give, and being a lemon-loving family, we all squirted some more lemon onto our food at the table. The crunchy topping adds a great textural note. Thanks for a great recipe!

  19. 3 stars
    This recipe didn’t quite work for me….I could not get the lemons to caramelize and I didn’t need quite so much butter or breadcrumbs. I absolutely hate cooking with cream though and love ricotta, so I really enjoyed the sauce! I think I will stick with HBH’s lemon zucchini souper…my favorite ever 🙂

  20. 3 stars
    This was good. Felt it was a bit dry, it’s a good thing I saved 1 1/2c of pasta water, but should have saved more.

  21. 4 stars
    I’m going to try this this weekend but my brother doesn’t want asparagus in his pasta. Do you think mushrooms would work?

    1. Hey there,
      Sure, mushrooms would be fantastic! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  22. 5 stars
    This was perfection. Followed the recipe exactly as written and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe!

  23. 4 stars
    Made this tonight and it was so good! My 11 year old said he loved it! I’ve made so many of your recipes and they always come out amazing 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  24. 5 stars
    LOVE this. A perfect spring time pasta, very light but flavorful. Something different and exciting! Was surprised how fast it went. Thanks so much

    1. Hey Christine,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! 🌷xTieghan

  25. I’m so excited for this! If I wanted to add some chicken for this would you recommend searing it and then adding it back in to the skillet during step 4?

    1. Hey Faith,
      Yes, I think that would work well for you! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Alex,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Alaina,
      The ricotta is really key here, but you could try using 1/2 cup of cream and extra parmesan. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Susan,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  26. Hi! This looks delicious. I was wondering if you think it would be alright if I used a lime instead of a lemon? Very hard to find lemons in Colombia.
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Manuela,
      The lime will definitely have a different flavor than the lemon but you can certainly use it. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  27. This was so good!! I love the whipped ricotta!! But I don’t think I cooked the lemon right.. it was very sour still.. any suggestions?? I may omit next time.

    1. Hey Becky,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! You really want to make sure your lemon is caramelized so it will not have that sour taste. Have a great week:) xTieghan

  28. 4 stars
    Very good. I suggest setting aside a lot more pasta water for thinning. I added a full cup and I think it could have used a little more to thin out the sauce a bit.

    1. Hey Annie,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  29. 5 stars
    This was delicious. But, can we talk about the breadcrumb topping? I want to put it on everything!!! So good!

    1. Hey Laurinda,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  30. 3 stars
    I first tried to cook this using only the recipe from the beginning of the article. It came out alright. I feel as though I’m using the wrong lemons or cutting them wrong. Could you tell me how you’re cutting them? I’m going to try this again with a higher grade ricotta. I expect my recipe will turn out better. I also used very large asparagus and feel the thinner variety will cook better for this dish. Can’t wait to give it another go and change my rating.

    1. Hey Madison,
      I just cut the lemon into round slices. Let me know how I can help for next time! xTieghan

  31. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was truly outstanding! The depth of flavor from so few ingredients was really impressive. My husband enjoyed this so much as well!. I’ll definitely be making this again – next time, I’ll add mushrooms (I think they’d be a great addition!) Thanks for the awesome, easy recipe 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    I’m so interested in making this recipe, but I have no idea of how to prepare this lemon pieces… Is it just the peel or also the white part? No pulp, right? I couldn’t tell just by watching your stories 🤷‍♀️ Thank you

  33. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight. We both loved it. I especially liked the carmelized lemon in it. Not hard to make though the first time around it took me 1 hour to pull it together. Will definitely make it agian.

  34. Great looking recipe! What could you recommend as a substitution for white wine? I was thinking chicken broth, but do you have a better suggestion?

    1. Hey Alexis,
      Chicken broth would be great to use in place of the wine. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  35. 5 stars
    So delicious. I’ve never caramelized lemons before but I will definitely be doing it again! Such a good combination of flavors.
    And the breadcrumbs were the bomb. Perfect final touch to the pasta!

    1. Hey Veronica,
      The garlic is added in step 4. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  36. Hi there! So excited to try this. Just one question.. when it comes to the lemon- do you cut it in circular slices, then just chop those up in to little bits? Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hey Serena,
      Yes, that is correct! I hope you love the dish, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  37. Yessss, T! I was just thinking of your amazing asparagus recipes the other day. I went through some seriously health issues and haven’t been able to cook but I’m finally feeling up to it 🙂 I’ll make this very soon. Thank you!

    1. Hey Johanne,
      Yes, I think that would be fantastic! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Day,
      I do yes! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Nicole,
      Yes, I think broccoli would also work well here. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  38. Sigh. My asparagus is still under 6″ of snow! (I’m in northern British Columbia.) But soon I’ll have so much I will be looking for creative ways to use it. In the meantime, I’m off to the grocery store … looks delish!

  39. I literally searched for lemon asparagus pasta last night! This spring-y dish is going on the meal plan!

  40. A perfect and quick weekday dinner recipe with lots of my favourite ingredients, plus I love pasta. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  41. will be making this soon with few subs i love pasta sooooooooooo much sorry for early comment as am in Singapore will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya