Easy Dinner Recipes: Curtis Stone's Pasta Recipe for Spaghettini with Lemon and Ricotta Recipe

Easy Dinner Recipes: Curtis Stone's Pasta Recipe for Spaghettini with Lemon and Ricotta. Photo credit: Ray Kachatorian

written by Curtis Stone

We all know what it’s like to come home after a long day, longing for a hearty meal that can be ready with the snap of a finger. And though life can get a little hectic, I think it’s so important to take a moment to slow down, step into the kitchen and make a delicious meal to help nourish your friends and family. While this might seem like wishful thinking on some nights, trust me, it can be done! The secret is to have reliable, quick and easy dinner recipes to turn to. My current obsession is this pasta recipe I dreamed up for spaghettini with lemon and ricotta.

This lovely, light lemon ricotta pasta shows off a perfect balance of just a few simple ingredients: mild, creamy Homemade Ricotta and zesty, bold lemons. Spaghettini, a thinner spaghetti noodle, is best when cooked slightly al dente; its delicate bite and texture are lost if it’s overcooked. Of course, you could always add sautéed or roasted veggies to this pasta recipe, but most often, I like to serve this as-is because it is just that delicious. The best part is knowing that this bright, yet filling lemon ricotta pasta recipe will get you out of the kitchen in the time it takes you to boil pasta.

When time is of the essence, I like to use tools that help making the cooking process both enjoyable and easy. The Bosch 5 Burner Gas Cooktop is perfect for creating this lemon ricotta pasta. As you know from my other recipes , I’m a firm believer in cleaning as you go, and the seamless, one-piece stainless steel design of this cooktop makes cleanup a breeze. You can never go wrong with an easy dinner recipe that you can create quickly and not have to worry about the cleanup after. Win-win!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Ingredients

12 oz spaghettini
3/4 cup Homemade RIcotta (recipe follows) or good quality fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
Kosher salt

Preparation

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghettini and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until it is tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the spaghettini, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the ricotta, oil, and pepper. Grate the zest of 1 lemon over the ricotta and mix it in. Season with salt.

3. Add the spaghettini to the ricotta mixture and stir well to coat, adding the reserved cooking water to moisten as needed. Season to taste with salt.

4. Divide the pasta among 4 plates. Finely grate the zest of the remaining lemon over the pasta and serve immediately.

Homemade Ricotta

There’s something so rewarding about making your own cheese, and homemade ricotta is the easiest one to make. Usually it’s made with just milk and lemon, but I like to mix in cream and buttermilk for added richness and creaminess.

Makes: about 2 cups

Prep time: 2 minutes, plus 2 hours for draining the ricotta

Cook time: 25 minutes

Make-ahead: The ricotta will keep for up to 5 days stored airtight in the refrigerator

Ingredients

4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method

1. In a large heavy pot, combine the milk, cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, for about 25 minutes, or until the mixture has reached 160°F. The mixture will begin to separate into milky cheese curds and a watery whey, which is the result you want.

2. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the sieve and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until most of the liquid has drained from the cheese. The texture of the cheese will depend on the draining time; for a firmer texture, drain the cheese for as long as overnight.

3. Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use.

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