This quick and easy Creamy Lemon Broccoli Pasta can be ready in 25 minutes, or less! Al dente pasta tossed with broccoli and an easy sauce made with ricotta cheese, then finished with crispy lemon breadcrumbs. This easy pasta is a weeknight dinner winner!Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
2TBSFresh Parsley – chopped, plus more for serving
1 1/3CupsWhole Milk Ricotta Cheese(SEE NOTES)
2TBSPine Nuts- toasted
¼CupFreshly Grated Parmesan- plus more for serving
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Optional for serving: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Lemon Wedges
Make ricotta mixture (SEE NOTES): In the bowl of a food processor, add the ricotta, lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Process the mixture until the ricotta is incredibly smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed, about 40 seconds. Alternately, you can mix the ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Boil pasta, then add broccoli: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.Boil the pasta to al dente according to package directions. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking (SEE NOTES), remove and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then add the broccoli to the water and continue until pasta is al dente and broccoli is tender-crisp.
While the pasta is cooking, toast breadcrumbs: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium to medium-heat. Add in the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl and add in the lemon zest and parsley. Mix well and set aside.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and return both right back to the pot. Set the pot over low heat. Add the ricotta mixture and enough of the pasta water to create a sauce (SEE NOTES).
To serve: Divide the pasta among serving plates. Top with the breadcrumbs, pine nuts and parmesan. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Pasta: While I used a long variety of pasta (linguine), you can use any type of pasta you prefer! Just make sure you cook the pasta until *JUST* al dente according to directions on the package. Do not overcook your pasta!
Breadcrumbs: You can use any type of dried breadcrumbs you would like in the recipe below. I used panko breadcrumbs because I like their texture and size best.
Ricotta: Make sure you use a good-quality, whole milk ricotta cheese! Low-fat versions can result in a less cohesive, thin sauce.
To mix ricotta: If you have a food processor, I recommend using it for the ricotta mixture. Whipping the ricotta mixture will transform it from lumpy to luxuriously light and airy!
Broccoli cooking time: I like my broccoli tender-crisp. If you want really tender broccoli, add the broccoli to the boiling water earlier. If you are using broccolini, roughly chop it before proceeding with the recipe.
Pasta water: While you should always make a recipe your own, and I encourage you to add as little, or enough pasta water to create a sauce as thick, or thin, as you prefer. With that said, in case you need an approximation, I used about 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water.
Red pepper flakes: While the crushed red pepper flakes are listed as an option, I highly recommend adding at least a pinch! The heat from the pepper flakes cuts through the creaminess of the pasta and adds a little something special!
Leftovers: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 4 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.