Ditch the jar of pasta sauce. This pasta goes for ingredients that can quickly be thrown in for a fast meal that packs flavour.–Donna Hay

Can I make substitutions in this recipe?

There’s a lot to be said for following a recipe to the letter. There’s just as much to be said for playing a little loose with it. This simple, quick-cooking, one-pot meal turns out rave reviews as-is, although you could just as easily add a touch of grated lemon zest, swap another fresh herb for the mint, slip in a shorter, more fork-friendly pasta shape in place of the pappardelle, or use goat cheese as a stand-in for the ethereally light ricotta. During the dog days of summer, you could rinse the pasta under cool running water and make it as blissfully chilled as you can. And for one less pot to contend with, plunge the peas into the same pot of boiling water that you’ll later use for the pasta. Cook the peas, extricating them with a slotted spoon, then toss them in ice water while the pasta cooks.

A white bowl filled with lemon, ricotta, and pea pasta.

Lemon, Ricotta, and Pea Pasta

4.50 / 6 votes
Donna Hay’s lemon, ricotta and pea pasta is a family-friendly, super quick dinner of peas, cheese, and fresh mint. An honest-to-goodness weeknight winner.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories708 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


  • 14 to 16 ounces pappardelle or wide ribbon pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas, cooked
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound store-bought or homemade fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced mint leaves, (just stack ’em and slice ’em and, if you wish to sound fancy schmancy, call them chiffonade)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve, (optional)


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return it to the pot.
  • Add the lemon juice, oil, peas, salt, and pepper to the pot and toss to combine.
  • Add the ricotta and gently toss again.
  • Spoon the pasta onto plates and top with the mint and Parmesan, if using. Don’t be too eager to add the mint to the warm pasta, as this can cause the delicate herb to darken. Originally published June 15, 2010.
Donna Hay Instant Entertaining Cookbook

Adapted From

Instant Entertaining

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 708 kcalCarbohydrates: 81 gProtein: 29 gFat: 30 gSaturated Fat: 12 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 141 mgSodium: 120 mgPotassium: 497 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 5 gVitamin A: 1083 IUVitamin C: 22 mgCalcium: 293 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2006 Donna Hay. Photo © 2006 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is quick, simple, and full of flavor, either as a side dish or on its own.

I didn’t have any fresh mint on hand, but I had lots of basil, so I used that in its place. I imagine if you don’t care for mint, you could substitute a variety of other herbs as well.

I’d also like to try this recipe with chopped asparagus in place of the peas. I served this alongside some fresh salmon, and thought putting the salmon in the pasta might be an interesting addition.

This was a fast and satisfying pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight. The creaminess and tang of the ricotta went well with the lemon and mint, although I think I’ll add extra mint and some lemon zest to the ricotta next time I need a quick dinner.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 2 stars
    We made this and weren’t too impressed. The lemon and peas are great together but stirring in the ricotta made it look like it was tossed in curdled milk; bits of tiny white clumps coating the pasta was not appealing at all. It doesn’t “melt” like other cheeses and I would’ve been embarrassed to serve this to guests. If we’d maybe done what the pictures appear to have done and just put a few dollops of ricotta on top, it may have worked out better and looked more appetizing. The flavor was a little lacking for us too and could’ve benefitted from a different ratio of peas/cheese to pasta. We will try another pasta recipe next time to highlight our beautiful English peas.