Lemony Spaghetti with Peas and Ricotta

If you can't find true spring onions, it's fine to substitute 4 to 5 scallions or green onions instead. Use both the white and green parts.

This is a very spaghetti-focused recipe, meant to satisfy a real pasta craving. You can reduce the amount of pasta to 1/2 pound (or increase the amount of spring onions and peas) if you prefer a greater proportion of vegetables in your serving.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup good quality fresh ricotta
  • 2 heaping tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1 large or 3 small spring onion bulbs, tough outer layers removed and the rest halved and thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1 Begin heating the water for the pasta: Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil while you proceed with the recipe.

 2 Toast the Panko breadcrumbs: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the Panko, and stir constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.

3 Make the lemon ricotta: In another small bowl, stir the ricotta, 1 heaping tablespoon of the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice together (save the rest). Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Cook the spaghetti: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and set your timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended time (this is so you can be assured that you are cooking the pasta al dente).

Cook the spaghetti uncovered in vigorously boiling water. When done, it should be cooked, but still firm in the middle. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce, and drain in a colander.

5 Cook the spring onions and peas: While the pasta cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the same large skillet used to toast the breadcrumbs. Add the spring onions, and cook, stirring often, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice, the remaining 1 tablespoons lemon zest, the chicken stock and the peas. Cook, stirring often for 1 to 2 minutes or until the peas are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lemony Spaghetti with Peas and Ricotta

6 Combine the spaghetti with the peas: Reduce the heat to low. With tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti and 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the skillet. Toss until hot, adding more pasta water if necessary until the pasta is coated with sauce. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Lemony Spaghetti with Peas and Ricotta

7 Serve the pasta: Divide the spaghetti among four pasta bowls. Dollop spoonfuls of the ricotta over the pasta, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and parsley.

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  • Kim

    This recipe was fantastic. I just made it for my husband and kids who are all super picky eaters and they all loved it. I thought it was light and fresh. I used a protein pasta, but this was delicious. Extremely easy to make for cooks of all skill level.


  • Ellen

    So easy! There is barely any prep. I bought fresh cavatelli which only takes 2-3 minutes and put fresh peas right in pot to cook with pasta. I also added some grated romano cheese to toasted bread crumbs. I used fresh chives and added them to ricotta, lemon mix. I didn’t have any chicken broth so just added the pasta water and a little extra olive oil. I just couldn’t believe how tasty this was! Thank you!


  • Sandi

    I really enjoyed this recipe! It is a rainy day so I enjoyed the prep work that it entailed. I actually made fresh Ricotta the day before and it turned out very good, my first time! I prepped things during the day and had a delishous pasta dish by dinner time. It’s a keeper for me on one of those days!


  • dee

    This is a fantastic recipe! I didn’t have spring onions, and just substituted sweet onions + chives. It hits all the good points, great flavors, textures. The toasted panko really makes the difference. Thanks so much Sally!

  • Stephanie @31Daily

    I wasn’t hungry until I came across this post. Meal plan is changed. This is for dinner tonight! It looks so good and easy for a busy night ahead.

  • sarah

    This recipe is mouth tempting. My mom used to cook spaghetti with cheese and black pepper for me when i was in school. Thaks for providing me a new recipe. I’ll try it :)

  • Milena | Craft Beering

    I love all the vibrant green colors of this dish! Totally into the ricotta in lieu of an actual sauce. Perfect for spring:)

  • Arlene B. Heed

    Your recipes look delicious and some look very healthy. Thank you. I posted some of them to my Facebook page.

  • Miriam

    This looks like a dressed-up version of a quick supper my mom used to make with noodles, cottage cheese, peas, and black pepper or Israeli couscous I often make with peas and cheese tossed in. Thanks for helping me upgrade to more adult food. :-)