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! | macheesmo.com
Easy Eats

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

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!

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Yum

Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

With just a few ingredients, this creamy and flavorful sauce will completely change your pasta game.

Ingredients

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
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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! | macheesmo.com

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! | macheesmo.com

14 comments on “Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pasta Sauce

    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.

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

  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…
    Thx

    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!

  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!

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