Lemon Ricotta Rigatoni is a classic Italian dish and comfort food. It's not exactly "healthy" because it is high in fat and carbs, but it is oh-so delicious and a perfect "treat yourself" meal on a cold snowy Monday, like today.
This my version of the classic Italian dish, which calls for basil instead of arugula. I think basil overwhelms the delicate, simple sauce and arugula adds a peppery flavor that compliments the cheese, and I love it. But you can modify this recipe to suit your tastes. This dish can be made with any type of pasta noodle you like or have on hand. Try it your way and let me know what you think. This sauce does not require cooking, so this dish is ready in under 20 minutes, making it a winner in my book.
1 lb. rigatoni
1 cup ricotta cheese, full fat
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin oilive oil
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1 cup of baby arugula
Prepare the pasta according to package directions, drain, reserving one cup of the pasta cooking water. Do not rinse the pasta. Return the cooked pasta back to the pot and stir in the parmesan and arugula.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce so that it's ready to add to the steaming hot pasta.
Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, olive oil, lemon juice and zest. The texture should be smooth, like yogurt. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Add the ricotta mixture, and a 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pasta and toss to coat. Add more of the reserved water if the sauce is too thick. Serve with more parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. And if you like it a little bit extra, add a handful of pine nuts.