Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken

March 8, 2015

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Don’t we all love the lemon and ricotta and lemon and parmesan combinations? And you can never go wrong with lemon, chicken and spinach. Put that all together with a fair amount of pasta and you get this simple yet hearty and satisfying Italian and Greek inspired dinner!

Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken | Cooking Class

I love that you don’t have to make a sauce in a separate pan for this. You just add the ingredients directly to the pasta and voila. I did also try adding the spinach directly to the pasta without cooking it at all first and it didn’t seem to have a chance to fully wilt within a few minutes of cooking it with the pasta.

Which is why in the recipe below I suggested cooking it separately so you don’t end up over-cooking the pasta and drying the sauce.

You can even cook the spinach in the microwave if you’d like. I just add it to a microwave safe bowl, toss it with a little water then cook just until it starts to wilt, stirring it once halfway through cooking and then drain the water.

My favorite way to cook it though is on a steamer basket set over a little simmering water (cover the pan with a lid). You could probably even saute it in the 2 Tbsp oil listed in the recipe then add the cooked pasta and cheeses etc.

Don’t pass this one by, it may just become a new favorite! The vibrant lemon mixed with the mellowness of the ricotta along with the slight char and depth of flavor from grilling the chicken is totally irresistible!

4 from 4 votes

Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken

This super quick lemon ricotta parmesan pasta with spinach and grilled chicken is perfect for weeknights.
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grilled chicken breasts , sliced into strips*
  • 1 lb dry linguine , fettucine or spaghetti
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach , steamed just until beginning to wilt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves**, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan , plus more for serving

Instructions

  • Cook pasta in salted water according to directions listed on package, reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining pasta.
  • Drain water (reserve 1 cup) and return pasta to pot. Set pot over medium-low heat, add olive oil and saute garlic 1 minute, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, 1/2 cup hot reserved pasta water and parmesan and toss to evenly coat.
  • Add in more pasta water as desired to thin and season with salt and pepper to taste, cook and toss, about 2 minutes, until ricotta is heated through. Toss in spinach and grilled chicken. Serve warm topped with more parmesan if desired.

Notes

  • *I recommend brushing the chicken lightly with olive oil and season both sides salt, pepper and garlic powder before grilling.
  • **Garlic not originally included in the recipe, updated to include it to boost flavor.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 536 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 321mg14%
Potassium 693mg20%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 2990IU60%
Vitamin C 11.5mg14%
Calcium 307mg31%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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104 Comments

  • Amber Berner

    I doubled the ricotta, garlic, and lemon, and added mushroom and asparagus. It was delicious!

  • Kathryn

    I never review recipes but I just have to on this one. It was terrible. I made gluten free spaghetti and maybe that was the problem. The pasta water was thick and made the whole dish taste gummy. I wish I had used chicken stock instead. I couldn’t taste any garlic or lemon, just pasty flavor. So much work and so disappointing.

  • fred

    Use chicken stock to cook pasta/add back in later, double the spinach (dip it in the pasta pot in a colander to wilt), lemon, garlic and chicken. Halve the pasta. Add a bit of sour cream.
    I found there was too much pasta and not enough of everything else.

  • Tessa

    I made this hoping it would be a lighter pasta dish, but there’s no flavor. It’s super bland and boring. I think maybe I should’ve used whole fat ricotta or added cream or milk?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes and you can also add garlic or other ingredients like fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes etc to boost flavor.

  • Terra

    I tried this for the first time except I made two changes:
    1. I forgot to buy Ricotta cheese, so I used extra Parmesan. It tasted great to me but will try with all the ingredients next time
    2. I sauteed the spinach with butter and minced garlic before mixing in, instead of steaming.
    This is a great recipe and the lemon gives it a wonderful fresh taste.

  • Shannon

    I would recommend only using 3/4 cup of ricotta, it gets to thick and the reserve pasta water doesn’t thin it enough.