Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce: With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game. Similar to an alfredo sauce, but easier to make. Roasted garlic, lemon, and ricotta cheese is all it takes! |

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce: With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game.


Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

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I’m trying to think if there’s any kitchen scent I would rank above the smell of roasted garlic. I seriously can’t think of one. Any time I roast a clove of garlic, I want to open my windows, not to let the smell out, but to give the rest of the neighborhood a little taste of the deliciousness.

It makes me hungry just writing about it.

The hard part about roasting garlic is, well, nothing technically. It’s about the easiest thing you can do in a kitchen. The hard part is not eating all the cloves, one at a time on crackers or toast, before you make what you are actually supposed to be making. If you’re me, just roast two bulbs of the stuff and use one for snacking and one for recipe making. Problem solved.

In this case, I made one of the better pasta sauces I’ve had in a while. If you’re in a pasta rut with marinara or some boring jarred Alfredo sauce, this roasted garlic ricotta pasta sauce is a must try!

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

Serves 4.
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Rated 3.6 out of 5
3.6 out of 5 stars (based on 264 reviews)
Very good34%
Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce: With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game. Similar to an alfredo sauce, but easier to make. Roasted garlic, lemon, and ricotta cheese is all it takes! |
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With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game.


1 bulb garlic, roasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
15-16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zest only
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Fusilli Pasta
Reserved pasta water
Basil, for garnish

Show Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tip off the garlic bulb, just exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Wrap the bulb in foil and roast for 30 minutes. Let garlic cool and then squeeze out roasted cloves into a bowl.

2) To roasted garlic, add a pinch of salt and mash together with a fork. Stir in ricotta cheese, lemon zest, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

3) Cook 12-16 oz. pasta according to package. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water from the cooking process when you drain the pasta.

4) To finish the sauce, add ricotta base to a pot with pasta sauce in a 2-1 sauce-to-water ratio. You can finish the sauce in batches or all at once in this way. If you add the whole ricotta sauce base to a pot, you’ll want to add at least a cup of reserved pasta water and maybe a bit more. Stir hot pasta water into the ricotta over low heat and continue to stir until it’s smooth and thick.

5) Divide cooked pasta between bowls and top with pasta sauce. Garnish each bowl of pasta with chopped basil, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

This sauce is really easy to make but it does take about a half hour just to roast the garlic bulb. Not that it’s hard though. Toss it in the oven and go do something else for 30 minutes. It’s hard to screw up.

I just slice the top off the bulb and drizzle with some olive oil and kosher salt and wrap it tightly in foil. After 30 minutes, you’ll have a beautiful thing.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce
A whole bulb.

If you’ve never had roasted garlic, you are missing out. It’s so good. You can literally just eat the cloves by themselves. They are sweet and flavorful and have just a touch of the garlic bite.

Once they are roasted, you can use your fingers to just squeeze the cloves out of the paper wrapping.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce
Smells good.

Mash together the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt until they are in a rough paste. Then mix in ricotta, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of black pepper.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce
Sauce base!

Finishing the Sauce

At this point you basically just have a ricotta mixture. The secret to making it a smooth sauce, perfect for pasta, is one thing: hot pasta water.

So, cook your pasta and set your ricotta mixture aside. I like to use fusilli but I guess any pasta works fine. Save about 2 cups of the starchy pasta water.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce
Get Fusilli.

Then add the ricotta mixture to a pot over low heat in about a 2-1 ratio of ricotta-to-water. So if you’re just making one or two servings, you might add one cup of ricotta mixture with 1/2 cup of hot pasta water.

If you’re making the full batch, you’ll want to add 1 cup of reserved pasta water to the mixture and stir it together over low heat. It’ll turn smooth and creamy in no time.

At this point you can stir some of the cooked pasta into the sauce in the pan if you want.

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce
A light coating.


Or, I actually thought it was better to keep the sauce smooth in the pot, divide the noodles between bowls, and pour the hot sauce over each bowl. You can garnish each bowl with some basil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.

You would think this is some kind of fancy cream based pasta sauce, but it’s so easy to make and the roasted garlic totally makes it unique.

Who’s a roasted garlic fan?! Raise your hand! ✋

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce: With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game. Similar to an alfredo sauce, but easier to make. Roasted garlic, lemon, and ricotta cheese is all it takes! |

31 Responses to “Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce” Leave a comment

    1. Hey Matt, I served mine with a simple arugula and tomato salad. It’s a rich, flavorful sauce so I’m not sure it needs something like garlic bread. A light, peppery salad works well. :)

  1. Not too sure where I went wrong at the end. It still hds a griddy texture, it never smoothed out. The taste was great, but I couldn’t handle the texture.

      1. There’s a WORLD of difference between run-of-the-mill supermarket ricotta and the real deal. It is worth the price to use artisan stuff or even make your own in the microwave (it’s easy – google it)! It will be creamier and taste much, much better.

      2. Great point Aly! I’ve noticed drastic differences in this cream sauce depending on the quality of ricotta I use. :)

      3. Just discovered Galbani…game changer! I could eat it by itself it’s SO good and creamy and excellent flavor. Like none other that I’ve tried!

  2. I made this tonight and it didn’t have much taste:( what can I do for the next time to bump up the creaminess and taste? It was real creamy going into pasta then pasta soaked it up; leaving not creamy enough. I did add a tad butter to help pasta…

    1. Heya! I’m surprised about the taste. Usually a whole head of roasted garlic is lots of flavor! You could add other herbs to it if you wanted (rosemary would be nice) or also roast some shallot and puree that with the sauce. Just ideas.
      As far as the creaminess goes, when the consistency of this sauce is dry, you almost always need more pasta water. That’s the trick to thinning out the sauce and making it smooth. The pasta water needs to be seasoned (make sure to salt it before you cook the pasta) and also hot. I gave rough guidelines in the recipe, but if the sauce seems thick like you describe you probably need another 1/2 cup or so of pasta water stirred in. Good luck!

    2. Add one egg in the sauce, beat it up before adding to pasta, don’t wash pasta with cold water before, egg will cook in hot pasta, can add a spoon of oil to the mixture.

  3. Hey Nick! I just tried this for lunch. Had some left over ricotta cheese from a cannoli recipie in the fridge and didnt want to waste it. I also roasted a medium sized butternut squash along with the garlic. Turned out great. The salty pasta water helped keep the sauce creamy. Thank you!

  4. Nick I guess looking for fat and caloric intake isn’t a good idea? I want this bad but am fearful to ask…. Assuming it’s high.

  5. Nick, that was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made. I didn’t have a lemon but I added some wilted spinach and grilled chicken and it was so tasty, light, and filling. The hot pasta water really transforms the texture of the ricotta so it is so silky. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Awesome Kasey! So glad you liked it! Yea… people skip the pasta water or don’t add enough and then email me that it didn’t work. Ha!

  6. This was soooooo good. It’s a nice alternative to alfredo when I’m in the mood for a creamy sauce, but don’t want so many calories. I added 1 cup of water, and it was a little thin so I think next time I’ll start with a 1/2 cup and see if I need more. Thanks for a great recipe.

  7. i love this idea. i added some sauteed spinach and some parm and whizzed it all with a hand-held blender to get a smooth sauce. delish!

  8. this sauce was so good and very easy to make. For those who said it was not good can’t figure out what they could have done. With 4 simple ingredients you should always use the best. Making my own Ricotta is one very important one. No matter how expensive the store bought nothing can compare to making your own. Mine is so creamy and that is exactly how the sauce turned out. I had a simple salad along with and my husband and I loved it. this is a keeper recipe.

  9. I think that there is a difference between whole milk ricotta and part skim ricotta. Whole milk is creamier, that’s why it’s used in desserts. While, part skim is dryer, and grainy, due to low fat.

  10. Bravo Nick, I just scribbled your recipe into my leather bound recipe book to give to my kids! Thank you from the bottom of our empty pasta bowls!

  11. For those of you who don’t like the texture of ricotta, you can make it smooth and creamy just by putting it in a mixer bowl and whipping it. Totally changes the texture without affecting the flavor.

  12. For an extra flavour in this sauce I have always used dill that I keep in the freezer. It’s delicious and not overpowering. I added smoked salmon yesterday as we had some at home..yummy!

  13. Using this sauce with ground turkey and roasted brussel sprouts. I think the pasta water is a game changer bc I often add butter or olive oil and I think this is soooo much better for the waistline.

    The only problem the dam zester! It always gets me as I try to zest beyond the yellow ribs and go for the white pieces.

    FYI I added additional red pepper flakes and black pepper. I also added ground red cayenne bc my SO ‘hid’ the red pepper flakes…they were in the same spot they always are. It’s the self-quarantine getting to me!

    Sooo glad I found you! ❤️

  14. Made this tonight and it is so good! Didn’t have lemons so I left out the zest, and didn’t have enough ricotta so added some heavy cream to make the sauce go further. Flavors are so developed for it to be such a quick meal to prepare, and I’m officially obsessed with roasted garlic! To the people saying it isn’t good– use whole milk ricotta, it makes a world of difference.

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