Easy weeknight ricotta pasta with peas in a blue bowl with a side of parmesan cheese.
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Easy Veggie Ricotta Pasta

Ricotta pasta is a simple but elegant dinner you can whip up in under 30 minutes. It's an adultier, somewhat healthier version of mac n'cheese that just happens to also be totally kid-approved. The vegetable additions are flexible, but using frozen peas translates to no extra prep, and very little extra time. I love this recipe for busy weeknights when I'm scratching my head thinking "What I can make ASAP?". Ricotta pasta is the perfect answer. 
Course Pasta
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 371kcal
Author Danielle Esposti



  • 1/2 lb short pasta penne, fusilli, rotini, etc.
  • 1 tbsp sea or kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only halved and sliced into 1/2" moons
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 c full fat ricotta cheese homemade is best
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 1/4 c fresh torn basil
  • cracked black pepper to taste


  • Fill a large stock pot with at least 2 quarts water. Add the salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente per package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water, then drain and return the pasta to the stock pot. 
  • Once the pasta is halfway cooked, prepare the vegetables and ricotta sauce. Heat a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, and heat until the butter foams. 
  • Add the sliced leeks to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft and the whitest pieces turn translucent, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about a minute. 
  • Add the ricotta, parmesan, and 1/3 cup of pasta water to the skillet. Stir frequently until the parmesan melts and the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add the frozen peas to the sauce and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  • Scrape the ricotta sauce and vegetables into the cooked pasta, along with another 1/3 cup pasta water. Toss until the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce. The sauce should be rich, but not clumpy - add more pasta water, a couple tablespoons at a time, to achieve desired consistency.
  • Add the fresh basil and cracked black pepper to taste, then toss once more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed (I didn't add any). 
  • Portion into pasta bowls, garnish with additional basil and parmesan to taste, and serve immediately. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1501mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2100% | Vitamin C: 14% | Calcium: 640% | Iron: 3.8%