Creamy Ricotta Pasta Sauce recipe

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8 ounces orecchiette pasta
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ cup pesto, or to taste

Nutrition Info

296.6 calories
carbohydrate: 42.4 g
cholesterol: 51.5 mg
fat: 9.4 g
fiber: 2.6 g
protein: 11.4 g
saturatedFat: 2.3 g
servingSize: -
sodium: 616.7 mg
sugar: 1.1 g
transFat: : -
unsaturatedFat: : -


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook orecchiette according to package directions, reducing time by 1 minute, about 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, egg, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Mix until a paste forms. Add 1/3 cup hot pasta water and whisk well. Repeat with another 1/3 cup pasta water.

  3. Transfer pasta to a saucepan using a strainer, letting most, but not all, the water drain off. Reserve cooking water. Add the sauce mixture and turn heat to medium. Cook and stir until sauce thickens enough to coat the pasta evenly, about 2 minutes. Add more pasta water if sauce gets too thick. Stir in pesto. Taste and season as desired. Transfer pasta to a warm bowl.

Recipe Yield

4 small portions

Recipe Note

A simple marriage of ricotta cheese, egg, and a secret ingredient make for a sauce that's even creamier than those that use heavy cream, which can be a bit too rich and filling. I mean, come on, I'm trying to save room for the tiramisu. Ricotta gives this sauce a cheesy tanginess that we don't get with heavy cream. I love to top this pasta with lots of ricotta salata, a great summer cheese.

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