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Ricotta Cheese Sauce

Have you ever thought of using ricotta cheese as a sauce for pasta? It is one of my favorites and the key is to use fresh, thick whole milk ricotta because the skim milk variety is too thin and watery. Lots of grated lemon zest gives this sauce a very clean taste. This sauce makes enough to dress one pound of pasta.

Serves 4 to 6


1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese, well drained

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)

1/3-cup pasta cooking water

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


In a large bowl whisk the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper together until well blended. Set aside.
Cook the pasta of your choice in 4 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente, cooked through but still firm. Drain the pasta in a colander. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water.
Return the pasta to the pot and add the ricotta cheese mixture, the reserved water, zest and grated cheese. Mix everything well over low heat and serve when hot.

This recipe is featured on show 2204 – Delicious Sauces – Le Salse Deliziose.

This recipe is from Ciao Italia Family Classics by Mary Ann Esposito.


  1. Gretchen's avatar


    Hi - I watch your show with my 7 year old son who loves cooking shows! (we don't have cable and PBS is the only channel that has anything he likes/is allowed to watch by himself!) He made the ricotta pasta sauce tonight, mostly by himself, and it was delicious! My husband and I were telling him how great it is to be able to cook for yourself, and that it is a skill you will never regret learning! He was really proud of himself! Thanks!
    Gretchen and Carter - Seattle WA
  2. PENNY WEBB's avatar


    Loved the recipe. Looking for the other 2 that was done on this show with the beef shank and lemon sauce for fish or chicken.
  3. Susan's avatar


    I tried this tonight but used lemon flavored olive oil. mmmmmmmm
  4. Janet's avatar


    My daughter always wanted to try a Ricotta based sauce and as a beginner cook, this was fabulous! It was so creamy, my husband thought there was heavy cream used. We all just loved it. YUMMY
  5. Joe Napoletano's avatar

    Joe Napoletano

    I made linguini and this sauce with shrimp, it turned out delicious.

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