Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach

Lemon Ricotta Pasta is a total life changer. . . Not really but darn it’s good!!!!! We are really enjoying lemons lately. They’re great with veggies, seafood, pasta, chicken, pork, drinks and so much more!!! The best part of a lemon….. EVERYTHING!! Well, except for the white part and the stem! 😀 I find the zest of a lemon adds so much to every recipe. Oh, and don’t forget about the lemon peel in a Martini. Soooo good!!

If you love lemon like we do this is the pasta dish to try. It’s so easy and it will totally impress everyone. It’s bright, light, and full of zesty lemony flavor. The mixture of the ricotta and parmesan adds a nice creamy texture to this very fun dish. Its great to have as a weeknight family dinner or a sit down evening guests.

How do I defrost frozen shrimp for this recipe?

First thing is to defrost the shrimp and remove the shells. If you’re like us, the shrimp are frozen. I mean who remembers to take the shrimp out of the freezer in the morning or day before so they can slowly defrost in the fridge???? And if you do let them defrost slowly, for some reason, they get that shrimpy smell in the fridge for a few days. So, what we do, is put the frozen shrimp in a bowl. Cover them with warm water. They usually defrost in about 10 minutes.

After defrosting the shrimp remove the shells and they are ready to cook. If the shrimp have that shrimpy smell after they are defrosted follow these easy steps. 1. sprinkle one teaspoon salt on the shrimp. 2. gently stir the shrimp and salt for one minute. 3. rinse off the salt. 4. repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 for 2 more times. 5. they are ready to go and will not have that lovely shrimp smell. Best part, this process does not change the flavor of the shrimp. Actually, I think the shrimp taste better!!!! We found the shrimp is such a great addition to this lemon ricotta pasta, but it isn’t a requirement, the pasta is great with chicken also!!! You can even leave it out for a meatless monday staple.

What pasta is best?

We’ve found you can really use any pasta you like for this dish. We make this recipe with whole wheat, and actually prefer it for this dish becasue of the extra bite. As far as long pasta vs. short: It can be done with either! Just make it easy and use what you already have on hand. We make it with linguine and also LOVE it with fusilli (like below). This recipe works with your favorite shape.

Now it’s time to make the Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Ok, now it’s time to make the dish. Get the pot of water ready to boil. Follow the directions on the box for cooking the pasta. While the water is heating up. Zest the lemon and set aside. Put 1/2 the juice of the lemon on the shrimp to lightly marinate. Set the other half aside. Grate the parmesan cheese. Get the spinach, ricotta, and wine measured out and ready. Once this starts to cook it goes very fast so it’s a good idea to have everything measured in advance. Don’t forget the red pepper flakes if using them. Also, get a measuring cup out to capture the pasta water.

I saw a tip the other day about capturing the pasta water that I thought was a great idea. They said if you are using a strainer for the pasta then place a measuring cup inside the strainer. So when it’s time to drain the pasta you won’t forget to capture some of the pasta water first. So often I forget the pasta water so this is a fun tip to help me always get some of that cooking water to add to the sauce.

Pasta water is boiling!

Don’t forget to add a couple of tablespoons of salt into the water after it starts to boil. This helps season the pasta and really adds great flavor to the entire dish. While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil and add the shrimp with the lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook the shrimp until done about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan.

When the pasta is done add it to the pan used for cooking the shrimp and over medium heat, add in the wine, rest of the lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir.

In a bowl, mix the lemon zest with the ricotta. Add 1/4 cup of hot reserved pasta water to the ricotta and stir well. This will keep the ricotta from curdling.

Add the ricotta mixture to the pasta and stir. Toss in the parmesan cheese and again stir to completely coat the pasta.

Add the spinach and toss until wilted.

Pour into a serving dish and top with the shrimp and more grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy the Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Shrimp!!!

Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach

This Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Shirmp and Spinach is zesty and creamy. The bright lemon flavor shines with the light ricotta sauce.

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Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Keyword: Lemon, Pasta, Ricotta, Shrimp

Calories: 397kcal

Author: Belly Laugh Living


  • 6 Ounces Whole Wheat Pasta You can use a long or short pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 Zest from one Lemon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 8 Ounces Shrimp
  • 2 Lemons Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/3 Cup White Wine Any white wine, we like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 Ounce Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • 6 Cups Fresh Spinach or 1 to 2 cups frozen spinach
  • Pasta Water


  • Defrost shrimp and remove the shells. Zest and juice the lemons (you only need the zest of one lemon, but will need the juice of 2). Add half of the lemon juice to the shrimp to marinate. Reserve the other half of the juice for later

  • Start the water for the pasta. When water starts to boil add 2 Tablespoons of salt. When water starts to boil again add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

  • Heat olive oil in large pan. Add the shrimp that has marinated with lemon juice. Add the red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt.

  • Cook shrimp until done. Takes about 5 minutes

  • Remove shrimp and set aside. Use the same pan to finish the pasta.

  • When pasta is done (according to the package instructions). Add the pasta to the same pan the shrimp were cooked in. Add 1/2 cup pasta water, wine and the remaining lemon juice. Stir.

  • In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, lemon zest and garlic powder. Add 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and stir until combined. This will temper the ricotta so it doesn’t curdle when added to the pasta

  • Stir the ricotta mixture into the pasta.

  • Stir in the grated parmesan cheese

  • Gently stir the spinach into the pasta. Turn off the heat.

  • Place the pasta in a serving dish and top with the cooked shrimp.

  • Top with some slivers of parmesan cheese.

  • Serve and Enjoy!!!!


Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 5712mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 6074IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 282mg | Iron: 5mg

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