March 24, 2011

Fridge Pasta Before Vacation (Meyer Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula)

PastaWhat’s Going Today: Doing a jig as I pack our bags for vacation, setting aside winter sweaters to be dry cleaned for storage.

Naptime Goals: Pack away winter in the attic, pack spring clothes in the suitcase, wrap up all obligations and head out of town!

Tonight’s Menu: Meyer Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula

More Quick Pre-Vacay Meals: Farmer’s Market Quiche

It was a long hard winter. I had to walk four miles each day, up hill both ways. Feeling sorry for me yet? Don’t. I am being sarcastic. Yes, it was a tough winter between major deadlines, snow days galore and a few visits from the toddler stomach bug, but these silly quibbles are nothing in comparison to the situation in Japan or the true ills of the world. Yesterday I was packing for a vacation with the people I love and wrapping up the house before the trip. (Burglars, the house is still occupied while we are gone so don’t even think about it!) When it came to dinner my only thought was coming up with a quick dish using found items in the fridge.My choice was between carbonara and lemon spaghetti and we chose the latter. I wasn’t in the mood for a rich porky pasta knowing that I would be wearing shorts, and possibly even a bathing suit, in less than two days. The prospect of a meal filled with sweet citrusy perfume of Meyer lemons was very enticing, as well as the fact that I could easily incorporate the last of the peppery baby arugula I had on hand straight into the pasta.

To make my lemon sauce I used ricotta instead of the more traditional heavy cream. I only had enough cream left for my husband’s coffee the next morning so I weighed my options and decided it was best to save it for him. Instead, I scooped a hefty spoonful into a large bowl during naptime and showered it with Meyer lemon zest and juice (we had two left in the fridge!) then add a bit of grated Parmesan and some pepper. I stirred it all together and left it until dinner time. Then I boiled the pasta, reserved some of the cooking water and dropped it straight into the mixing bowl with the sauce. As I swirled it around with tongs I added in the baby arugula and a little bit of the cooking water and – ta-da! – fridge pasta was served!


Meyer Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula (aka Fridge Pasta)


 1 pound spaghetti or other long strand pasta
¾ cup (or therebouts) ricotta cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Meyer lemons (or regular medium lemons) zested and juiced
4 ounces baby arugula
1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
1 handful toasted pine nuts


1. In a large heatproof bowl mix the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan, and pepper. Add a pinch of kosher salt if the cheese is not salted.

2. Boil the pasta in salted water and drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Dump the drained pasta into the bowl with the ricotta and swirl the pasta into the ricotta until the cheese is slicked on the pasta. Then add the arugula and a little bit of the pasta water. Keep twirling the pasta until the arugula is wilted into the pasta and the ricotta has loosened up to form a thick sauce. Scatter the toasted pine nuts on top of each portion. Serve hot!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This pasta is also delicious served the next day cold. If you don’t have ricotta you can try creme fraiche, greek yogurt or cream.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes prep time, 15 minutes cook time.

Naptime Reviews

We all love this refreshing pasta, it has such a spring flavor to it!

2 Responses to “Fridge Pasta Before Vacation (Meyer Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula)”

  1. Erica says:

    Looks delicious!

  2. This looks great! What a good idea!