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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.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

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.

overhead prep photo of herbs and lemons

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.

overhead prep photo of Spicy Breadcrumbs

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”.

overhead close up photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

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.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

Oh…that ricotta

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.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs and fork twirled into pasta

Looking for other summer pasta? Try these weeknight favorites. 

Jammy Cherry Tomato Pasta with Crisp Lemon Rosemary Chickpeas

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette

One Pot Lemon Basil, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta

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

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 6
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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  • 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.
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  1. 5 stars
    i’m OBSESSED. this pasta tasted so fresh and creamy while also being light and just plain delicious! i’m not one to write reviews often but i’m blown away.

    1. Hi Alanna,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear that it was a hit!! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    This was fantastic. Simple but had real depth and richness.
    We also added sundried tomatoes for more acidity and sweetness.

    1. Hey there,
      I would serve with a dry Chardonnay. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

      1. 5 stars
        Big hit with super picky husband! He had 2 servings.. Whipped ricotta.. great idea.. i forgot to buy basil but had a bunch of Italian parsley i minced up instead which was delicious . Loved the lemon like this. I alst didn’t use as much butter but it didn’t make a difference…👍😉🥰

        1. Hey Tina,
          I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for testing it out! Have a great week! xTieghan

          1. Thank you ! Had leftovers so I caramelized more lemon, made more toasted bread crumbs with capers. Heated left over pasta and added some fresh spinach, garlic roasted grape tomatoes and asparagus too..Again..FANTASTIC DISH…looking forward to combining other Vegas to it or alone. Gonna be a shapely here and great dish for entertaining

          2. Hey Tina,
            Wonderful! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for making it. Have the best weekend! xT

          3. Sorry for auto correct.. . I’ll be combining other veggies and it’s going to be a staple at our home

    1. Hey Pam,
      Wonderful! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for giving the recipe a try!! xTieghan

  3. We love this recipe! So quick and easy and soooo full of flavor! When you bite into the squash it just bursts with amazing flavor. Sweet, salty, spicy, tangy with crunch. The perfect combo! We add chicken!

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

  4. The instructions left out how to carmelize lemons other than in butter. Don’t think mine were. Results were ok but I think a different pasta and more butter & ricotta would make it better. And more realism in the time it takes. Took me an hr & a half.

  5. 5 stars
    My hubs and I made this tonight…amazing. I was also confused about marinating the lemons with the rinds, but we all need to know to trust Tieghan. Everything about this was delicious!

    I’ve now added caramelizing lemons to my list. They taste and smell amazing and are so pretty! I used butternut squash instead of zucchini and it was perfect.

    Thank you, Tieghan! I live for HBH recipes (and food photos)! 😊


    1. Hey Laura,
      Happy Wednesday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xTieghan

    1. Hey Lorraine,
      As long as the lemon is caramelized, you do not need to remove the rind. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Danielle,
      Wonderful! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  6. I made the lemon pasta and it was to die for !!!! love the ricotta n I made my own bread crumbs as you suggested 😍

    1. Hey Candis,
      Wonderful! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

    1. Hey Donna,
      Awesome! So great to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and thanks for making it! Have the best week! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I made this last night for our dinner and it was delicious! Tieghan, you are a genius when it comes to creating fabulous recipes . . . and with presenting and photographing them! Many thanks!

    1. Hey Lynn,
      Awesome! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xxTieghan

      1. This was brilliant except the lemon was little much for me and my family. It was just too overpowering. Maybe I didn’t caramelized it correctly..! But thanks for another good one:)

        1. Hey there,
          Awesome!! I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xxTieghan

      2. This sounds delicious but after reading the reviews, I too, was questioning the lemon rind as the pith is bitter…but would think the preserved lemons I have in the fridge would be great and remove the step of carmelizing the onions

  8. 5 stars
    This is so easy and delicious. We used burrata instead of ricotta and added it to the pan so it warms up a little and will melt into the pasta. The breadcrumbs are so so good.

    1. Just wanted to also add that we sliced the lemons thinly and really really cooked them to cancel out any bitterness (the slices were browned and really soft, almost falling apart).
      After removing them from the pan & chopping them up, we tasted the lemons before adding them into the dish. (If it’s a little bitter even after chopping it up, just add it back to the pan and cook for longer).

    2. Hey Danielle,
      Happy Friday! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed:) xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    This pasta was amazing!

    I have some food allergies so I had to make a couple substitutions. (i.e. Vegan ricotta and brown rice angel hair pasta) It was still absolutely divine. I love how the citrus and basil meld together. It was such a fresh summery pasta dish!

    I will definitely be making this again. Even my pasta despising partner cleaned his plate. 🤣

    1. Hey there,
      Fantastic! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  10. 4 stars
    Delicious flavors – I’d double the amount of lemon and summer squash! The capers with the lemon are a delightful addition. Room temp ricotta will make your life easier, and next time I’ll use thin linguine or spaghetti. (We find Angel Hair difficult).

    As usual, a yummy HBH dinner 😊

    1. Hey Cindy,
      I am so so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! Happy Sunday! xTieghan