Lemon ricotta pasta sauce is so easy to whip up on a weeknight! This recipe takes the dish to the next level by incorporating crispy oven baked prosciutto that can bake while you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients. The prosciutto brings a nice salty/savoriness to compliment the tangy sauce, and the baby arugula adds some earthiness to balance out the flavors. This is one of my favorite pastas to make, it’s fancy enough to serve to dinner guests, but easy enough to throw together on a weeknight!
Key Tips – Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto
Use long, thick pasta.
- Long, thick pasta is the best vessel for this sauce. My favorite for this recipe is bucatini, but similar pasta such as spaghetti works great as well!
Omit the prosciutto for an easier, cheaper, and vegetarian dish.
- If desired, you can skip the prosciutto and this is still a very flavorful meal.
- This dish is a good option if you’re serving some vegetarians and some non-vegetarians. You can keep the prosciutto on the side and people can add it to their bowl as desired.
The sauce will be a little grainy, there isn’t much you can do about that.
- My only complaint about this recipe is that the ricotta causes the sauce to be a little grainy. Typically, it looks smooth as you’re mixing it, but quickly turns grainy as it cools.
- I’ve tried a number of ideas such as blending the sauce and using a cornstarch slurry, but I haven’t been able to get the sauce to be silky in the end. If you find a method that works, let me know!
Watch the prosciutto closely to make sure it’s crispy but not burned.
- Make sure you keep an eye on the prosciutto as it bakes, you want to pull it from the oven when it looks similar to the picture below on the right, about 10 minutes.
Dietary Restrictions – Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto
Make it Vegetarian:
- Omit the prosciutto (it’s still a very flavorful dish!)
Make it Gluten-Free:
- Use gluten-free pasta. Chickpea pasta is my favorite GF variety!
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 servings, some people would prefer to have more than one serving. I typically serve this dish as 2 large dinner portions, which are about the quantities you would expect to receive at an American restaurant. Plated in the pictures is two servings per bowl.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Loosely roll up each piece of prosciutto and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake until they shrivel and darken in color, about 10 minutes.
- Remove baked prosciutto to a paper towel lined plate. Once cooled, tear into bite sized pieces.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Reserve about ½ cup pasta water, then drain. Return pasta to pot.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest, ¼ tsp black pepper, and 3 tbsp of the lemon juice (discard any extra juice).
- Add the ricotta mixture to the pasta and toss everything together, if the sauce is too thick add the reserved pasta water 1 tbsp at a time until a sauce forms and coats the pasta evenly. Add in most of the prosciutto pieces and arugula and toss to distribute.
- Plate the pasta, then top with more fresh cracked pepper and the remaining prosciutto and arugula. Serve immediately, add extra lemon wedge if desired.
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