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!
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!
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This super quick lemon ricotta parmesan pasta with spinach and grilled chicken is perfect for weeknights.
- 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
- 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.
- *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.