Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta With Spinach and Crispy Pancetta

4 Servings
20 min

Light, lemony pasta makes me feel oh so summery! I have a lot of fun experimenting with different variations of lemon pastas each year...



...another love is burrata cheese....what else can I use this for?!? YUM. Burrata is one of my favorite cheese because of the creamy consistency, mild flavor, and oh-so-special surprise you get when you cut it open! Burrata comes in ball form (you can find 8 ounce balls at most grocery stores OR 4 ounce balls at Trader Joe's), and it looks an awful lot like a large ball of mozzarella...but when you cut or pull it open, you reveal a gooey, magical, delicious center! Sheer bliss! I'd recommend adding it to various dishes: pastas, pizzas, chicken, etc.


This particular pasta gets an extra boost from pancetta - it's like the fancy bacon.


Creamy ricotta, hints of bright lemon, succulent spinach, and crispy pancetta come together to make this pasta dish an exception! So quick…so easy…so delicious…all together, a perfect summery dish. Enjoy!



  • Ingredients
  • 8 ounces angel hair (I prefer Barilla protein)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta (more to garnish if desired)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper (more to serve)
  • 1 cup shredded or diced chicken breast (precooked)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon Sauce
  • 1-2 medium lemons (you’ll need 2 Tbsp of juice and a heaping ½ Tbsp of zest for the recipe…so…depending on the lemons…you may need 2 lemons; feel free to use leftover slices as a garnish; note: I also keep store bought lemon juice in the fridge to make up the difference in recipes)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tools & Timing
  • Lemon zester and sieve
  • Small prep bowl
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Large pot with lid
  • Small saucepan
  • Small plate and paper towel
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander (pasta drainer)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 15 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Background

I found a lemon pepper pasta sauce recipe last summer that I have truly enjoyed modifying (check out the original post on Cook 2 Eat Well). I used a variation last summer in my Lemon Artichoke Pasta and loved it, so when I wanted to make a creamy rendition of a lemon pasta…I started with this base. Enjoy!


Step-by-step

  1. Fill your pot with water, cover with lid, and set on high to boil.
  2. As your water heats, begin to cook your pancetta: place 2 ounces of diced pancetta in a small saucepan over low heat. As the pasta water heats, occasionally stir the pancetta until cubes are crispy (about 5 minutes). *Keep the pancetta in a single layer as you cook and flip it to ensure even cooking of all of the pieces.
  3. As the pancetta is cooking, zest and juice your lemons: place measured zest and juice into your small prep bowl.
  4. Once cubes are crisp, scoop them out of the pan and place them on a paper towel covered plate to drain (reserve the fat from the pancetta in the pan – you will cook this into your sauce – turn off the heat under the pan).
  5. Once water comes to a boil, add a splash of olive oil to the water and then add pasta. Set timer for 4 minutes (1 minute less than specified directions)
  6. Begin sauce: add butter to your reserved pancetta drippings in your small saucepan – the heat is off but the residual heat from the fat should melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add olive oil, turn heat to low, and gently stir using your wooden spoon. Once olive oil is incorporated (about 1 minute), add lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
  7. Let lemon sauce cook on low for another 2 minutes, stirring gently.
  8. Meanwhile, heat your chicken in the microwave.
  9. Once the timer goes off for your pasta, set the timer for 1 more minute and add spinach to the boiling water. Using your wooden spoon, gently press the spinach down under the water line. After 1 minute, drain pasta and spinach in a colander and immediately return to the pot (pasta and spinach will be a little wet – you want this pasta water).
  10. Add ricotta, ¼ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of pepper to the pot. Next, add your lemon sauce and cover with lid for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Add pancetta and gently fold/stir ingredients together, incorporating the ricotta throughout.
  12. Options: add parmesan to the above process (I add at least 2 Tbsps), use as garnish, or simply serve grated parmesan with the pasta so guests can garnish to taste! I also make a little extra pancetta to use as a garnish to serve…or zest a little more lemon…it’s up to you!


Serve and Enjoy

Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks

*You can absolutely use other pastas for this recipe – simply start cooking the pasta earlier (since angel hair has a very quick cooking time).


*I use ¼ tsp of salt and pepper and then place salt and pepper on the table for guests can season their own according to taste.


*You could also cook your own chicken; I used store bought to save time and effort! If cooking your own, use a simple seasoning of salt and pepper for chicken breasts (and maybe a little garlic).

Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta With Spinach and Crispy Pancetta

Recipe details

  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces angel hair (I prefer Barilla protein)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta (more to garnish if desired)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper (more to serve)
  • 1 cup shredded or diced chicken breast (precooked)
  • Parmesan cheese

Lemon Sauce

  • 1-2 medium lemons (you’ll need 2 Tbsp of juice and a heaping ½ Tbsp of zest for the recipe…so…depending on the lemons…you may need 2 lemons; feel free to use leftover slices as a garnish; note: I also keep store bought lemon juice in the fridge to make up the difference in recipes)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Jessica
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