The simplest 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs…for laid back summer nights. This pasta is buttery, garlicky, and tossed with caramelized lemon and fresh basil. Serve over creamy whipped ricotta and finish off with spicy breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch. Perfect easy summer dinner, any night of the week. Everyone in the house will enjoy this dish, veggies and all! Added bonus? This pasta uses just one skillet and is a great way to use up that summertime garden basil and zucchini.
I love a good Monday night salad in the summer (assuming it looks something like this chopped salad or my summery Ceasar). But I also love a bowl of Monday night pasta more than you’ll know. Starting the week with a dinner that’s easy and something you can really look forward to is key. Especially in the summer.
When the weather finally turns nice here I want to spend a little less time in the kitchen (to a point…it’s my job, so I’m in the kitchen more than most). And a bit more time outside enjoying the summer season. Summer happens so very quickly here. By late August our trees have already begun to change colors and at night the temperatures are below 32.
It’s a quick season, so I really try to enjoy it while it’s here. Walks around the neighborhood when the sun is slowly setting over the mountains are my favorite this time of year. So I try to do as many of them as possible.
Which brings me to this pasta and the inspiration.
Two things inspired this easy, but delicious lemon butter pasta.
The idea came after a Saturday night walk. I really just wanted to make something for dinner that would be quick and create as little mess as possible, since for once the kitchen was actually clean.
For some inspiration, I took walk over to the garden (aka greenhouse, but I love using the word garden so much more…so sticking with garden). I pulled a whole bunch of fresh basil and thyme…love their fragrances.
Growing up, my mom and I loved a simple pasta tossed with basil and butter on summer nights, so I drew all my inspiration from there. But I added caramelized lemon…and a few other things to make it that much more delicious.
Of course. Because that’s just me, and that’s what I do.
Here are the details…
As you can imagine, this comes together quick. Just fifteen to twenty minutes is all you need.
Start with the breadcrumbs. Toast them in a skillet with salty capers and crushed red peppers flakes for a little spiciness. Then finish with sea salt. So simple…I love the added crunch and flavor from the capers.
Tip? Make your own fresh breadcrumbs with a loaf of day-old ciabatta bread. Bonus points to you if it’s a loaf of garlic ciabatta. Pulse the torn pieces of bread in a food processor or simply tear the bread into smaller pieces. It’s so easy to do and really adds a lot of flavor to any recipe calling for bread crumbs.
Once the crumbs are out of the skillet, start boiling the pasta. Using angel hair pasta is kind of key to this recipe. It’s one of the quicker cooking types of pasta. It’s also what my mom and I would always request when my dad would make us our “basil butter pasta”.
While the pasta cooks, caramelize slices of lemon in butter. Then chop the lemon slices and toss with lots and lots of fresh basil.
Next, cook the zucchini in the remaining butter with garlic and thyme. Remove from the heat, add the angel hair pasta and the lemon basil mix and toss.
Spread some ricotta cheese into your bowl, add the butter pasta and finish with those breadcrumbs.
Done. Dinner in fifteen that’s colorful and oh so GOOD.
Yes, I whipped it in my food processor, which took me an extra five minutes. If you have the time, I’d recommend going the extra mile. While regular ricotta is good, whipped ricotta takes the pasta to new levels.
When you twirl the warm buttery lemon pasta into the creamy whipped cheese, it instantly creates a creamy sauce that melts in your mouth.
Roll your eyes back good, as I like to say. It makes the pasta just a touch more special, which is always ideal.
Looking for other summer pasta? Try these weeknight favorites.
Lastly, if you make this 20 minute lemon butter pasta with ricotta and spicy breadcrumbs, 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!
Watch the How to video:
20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs
Calories Per Serving: 480 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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- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon drained capers
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 pound angel hair pasta
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 6 tablespoons cold salted butter
- 1 lemon, sliced, seeds removed
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 zucchini or yellow summer squash, very thinly sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese, whipped, if desired
- 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the breadcrumbs, capers, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are toasted all over and the capers fried, about 4 minutes. Remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet. Season with salt. 2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.3. Meanwhile, set your skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons butter and lemon slices. Sear until the lemon is caramelized, about 1 minute per side. Remove the lemon from the skillet. Finely chop the lemon slices and mix with the basil.4. To the skillet, add the remaining butter, zucchini, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is golden, 5 minutes. Watch the garlic closely. Remove from the heat, stir in the pasta and 1/2 of the lemon/basil.5. Spread the ricotta into bowls. Add the pasta. Top with breadcrumbs and additional lemon/basil. Twirl the pasta up with the cheese. EAT and ENJOY.
To Make Fresh Breadcrumbs: Pulse torn bread in a food processor until roughly the size of peppercorns. I like to use ciabatta or crusty sourdough bread. If using fresh crumbs, toast them 3-4 minutes in the skillet first.