Main Dishes

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Ricotta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The subtle sweetness of ricotta pairs beautifully with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in this creamy garlic pasta.

By Yankee Magazine

Jul 30 2023


Creamy Garlic Pasta with Ricotta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Photo Credit : Joe St. Pierre

There’s a trick to making a good creamy sauce, and it’s not your choice of ingredients. Heat plays a big role in making or (literally) breaking a sauce’s silky texture. Enter ricotta! It holds up to heat, and its subtle flavor is a great vehicle for other ingredients (here, it’s lemon). Don’t forget to reserve some pasta water to add in the final step so the dish turns out creamy rather than clumpy.


4-6 servings


12 ounces dried rigatoni
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for the pasta water
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, rinsed, and finely chopped
Red pepper flakes
6 cups fresh baby spinach
Grated Parmesan, for serving


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, 2 generous pinches of red pepper flakes, the spinach, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss for 2 minutes to warm through.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and add the ricotta mixture, along with 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Toss until the pasta is well coated. If the sauce is too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve immediately, with grated Parmesan on the side.