Pasta with Spinach, Artichokes and Ricotta

There are never enough pasta recipes, right? Here's a quick one that combines creamy ricotta, spinach, and artichoke hearts, topped a crunchy mix of breadcrumbs and almonds.

Pasta with artichoke hearts and spinach
Sally Vargas

A quick pasta dinner makes weeknights go smoothly, whether you are rushing home from work or trying to feed the hungry hordes in a hurry.

This one combines frozen artichokes and spinach in a creamy ricotta sauce. It's on the table in less under 30 minutes.

Easy Prep With Frozen Artichokes

Frozen artichoke hearts are your friends here. They retain a lot of the fresh green flavor of fresh artichokes and are closer to the real deal than artichokes you can purchase in a jar or a can.

Once frozen artichokes are defrosted, the texture tends to be a little softer than freshly peeled ones, so they will cook more quickly, too. The biggest advantage? You don’t need to do all that the tedious peeling and cooking.

Look for frozen artichokes that are loose in the bag, rather than in a block, which makes them easier to work with. If you have time, let them sit out for 10 minutes or so to partially defrost. If you don’t have time, then they will take just a few minutes longer to heat all the way through in the skillet.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta add the spinach
Sally Vargas

Cook the Pasta to Al Dente

For the pasta, choose a medium pasta shape such as penne or fusilli. I particularly love the look of lumache (little snails), but I can’t always find them.

Cook the pasta until al dente—usually just a minute less than what the directions on the package instruct.

With this recipe, as with most Italian pasta dishes, the cooked pasta goes into the skillet along with the sauce and other ingredients so it has a chance to cook for an extra 30 seconds or so and absorb flavors. Al dente pasta will finish perfectly in the pan without becoming overcooked or mushy.

Finish With Some Crunch!

The breadcrumb and almond topping adds some panache and a bit of surprise to this vegetarian pasta. Buy almonds that are already roasted and unsalted if you can; this way you don’t have to toast them in the oven. (If you can’t find roasted and unsalted almonds, then toast them on a baking sheet at 350oF for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant.)

Eat well! be happy!

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach
Sally Vargas

Bonus Tip

To coarsely “chop” almonds without pulling out your food processor, place them in a plastic zipper bag, seal the bag, and bash it with a rolling pin so the nuts are in small, uneven pieces.

More Easy Weeknight Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Spinach, Artichokes and Ricotta

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

If you have time, let the artichokes sit out for 10 minutes or so to partially defrost. If you don’t have time, then they will take just a few minutes longer to heat all the way through in the skillet.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 3/4 pound medium-shaped pasta, such as penne, medium shells, lumache, or fusilli

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, partially thawed if time allows (See Recipe Note)

  • 3 ounces (3 packed cups) baby spinach

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish


  1. Make the breadcrumb topping:

    In a small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the breadcrumbs and chopped almonds, and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Set aside.

    Pasta artichoke hearts spinach toast the breadcrumbs and almonds
    Sally Vargas
    Lemon artichoke pasta with spinach toasted breadcrumb almond mixture
    Sally Vargas
  2. Cook the pasta:

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. (Check the package for recommended cooking time and cook one minute less.)

    Scoop out and set aside 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander.

  3. While the pasta cooks, cook the artichokes:

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.

    Stir in the spinach and cook for another 30 seconds, or until it has wilted very slightly. Stir in the lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

    Spinach Artichoke Pasta cook the artichokes
    Sally Vargas
    Spinach Artichoke Pasta add the spinach
    Sally Vargas
  4. Toss the pasta with the artichokes:

    Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the artichokes. Add the Parmesan and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Dollop the ricotta over the pasta by the spoonful. Toss together. If the pasta seems dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Pasta artichoke hearts spinach add the pasta
    Sally Vargas
    Spinach Artichoke Pasta add the ricotta and combine
    Sally Vargas
  5. Serve the pasta:

    Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the toasted breadcrumbs and almonds. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
508 Calories
23g Fat
58g Carbs
20g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 508
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 722mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 17mg 87%
Calcium 308mg 24%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 597mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.