Ricotta, arugula, pine nuts, and penne pasta is a creamy delight for your senses.

A quick and savory penne pasta dinner that will leave you wanting more.

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts, And Penne Pasta

Imagine melting rich ricotta cheese melting around spicy arugula, crunchy pine nuts, and penne pasta, just the perfect weeknight dinner.

Top it all off with loads of grated parmesan cheese that is melting too. Mouthwatering!

In this Article

Why you will love this ricotta recipe?

  • Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes, giving you time free to spend with your family.
  • Using simple and easy-to-find ingredients, this dish brings an elevated element to your table.
    The play of flavors marrieds well with each other. The mildness of the ricotta against the arugula is just excellent.
  • The crunchiness of the toasted pine nuts brings it all together.
  • Even the most picky palates will enjoy this pasta dinner.

What is arugula?

Arugula is a peppery, spicy, and slightly tart leafy green salad.

It belongs to the cabbage and mustard green family and originated in the Mediterranean region.

Quite versatile as it can be enjoyed raw in a salad, pestos, pizza topping even.

Rich in Calcium, Potassium, Folate, Vitamins A, C, and K. Arugula is also low in sugar, fat, calories, and carbohydrates.

An excellent vegetable to be added to your diet.

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts, And Penne Pasta

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed

Penne pasta: My favorite, but any tubular pasta will work beautifully. You want t pasta that will absorb and hold the sauce when you eat it.

Pine nuts: once slightly cooked or roasted, a wonderful nutty flavor is released. It also adds a bit of a crunch which works beautifully against the ricotta.

Arugula salad: I love the peppery, spicy, and a bit nutty taste of the arugula salad. Adds a rich, spicy, peppery taste that balances well with the softness of the ricotta.

Whole milk Ricotta cheese: Of course, skim milk will also be, but to achieve the richness of this dish, I always use whole milk.

Basil: Fresh basil always adds a hint of flavor. When combined with the arugula, the flavor is intensified.

Parmigiano cheese: Always buy it in a large chunk and grate it as needed it. It will stay fresh longer, and you know what you are getting.

Basil and parsley: add a bitter component to your dish and are perfectly balanced with the arugula.

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts, And Penne Pasta

Equipment needed

I only recommend what I use and love.

Large pot for boiling the pasta

Sharp chef knife: used to chop the arugula, parsley, and basil

Wood cutting board: my favorite as they are the most gentle on your knife. I love my knives, as you can imagine.

Colander: drain the pasta. Always use one with high borders so the pasta will not scatter out.

Grater or microplane: I use a microplane for almost all of my grating. Easy to use and clean.

Serving dishes: Pasta dishes are fun and keep the pasta warm nicely. A higher border is always recommended.

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Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions on making this fantastic penne pasta with ricotta recipe.

Before cooking, I always recommend having all your ingredients ready and at room temperature.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and cook the penne pasta al dente or two minutes before the recommended manufacturing cooking time.
  • Warm up the pine nuts with olive oil in a small skillet. They must become golden and not burned, as they will dramatically change your taste.
  • Once the pasta is cooked at dente, put it right back into the pot you cooked the pasta.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to the pasta pot. I would start with the ricotta cheese and last the arugula.
  • The pasta needs to be soft and creamy sauce. Add some reserved pasta water to create that rich, creamy texture.
  • Serve warm and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

As you may notice, I have not included salt and black pepper in this recipe.

First of all, the pasta is cooked with salt and, therefore, seasoned.

However, the arugula, basil brings lots of seasoning to this dish.

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts, And Penne Pasta

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make this dish ahead of time?

No, as the arugula will welt with the warm pasta and lose the consistency it needs.

Can I replace the pine nuts?

Yes, pistachios and almonds are a great substitute.

Why penne pasta?

With all sauces, it is always recommended to enjoy tubular pasta so the creamy sauce can fill the cavity, and you will have more culinary enjoyment.

Suggestions and Variations

Having fun in the kitchen is what makes it fun. Therefore, I do invite you to play and be creative.

Add a few shakes of red pepper flakes to the ricotta sauce to give it a slight zing in flavor.

Or, add some lemon zest to the creamy ricotta to give it a more lemony flavor.

Rigatoni, orecchiette, shell are excellent substitution to penne pasta.

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts, And Penne Pasta

Storage and Reheating instructions

This excellent ricotta and arugula pasta dish can save in the refrigerator in an airtight glass container for a couple of days. Just be aware that the arugula will lose its crispiness.

Bring the container back to room temperature. Add a few tablespoons of water with some olive oil in a pan big enough to hold your leftover.

Reheat over medium heat, stirring to avoid burning. You can add more arugula once your dish is warm. Do not forget to add more freshly grated parmesan cheese.

If you enjoy this recipe of ricotta, arugula, pine nuts penne pasta recipe, check out these flavorful recipes:

Penne Pasta, Peas and Bacon

Penne Alla Vodka

Tomato, Arugula Salad

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts Penne Pasta

5 from 10 votes
ricotta, arugula, pine nuts penne pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Ricotta, arugula, pine nuts, and penne pasta is a creamy delight for your senses.A quick and savory penne pasta dinner.


  • 1 pound pasta, penne
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • cup pine nuts
  • 5 ounces arugula, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • cup whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a full boil. Add the penne pasta and cook according to package instruction for al dente.
  • In a small skillet add the olive oil and warm over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and cook over medium-low until they become golden.
  • Reserve ½ cup of the boiling water of the pasta before draining. Drain the pasta and add them back to the pot. Add to it the pine nuts and the oil that they cooked into, the arugula, parsley, basil, ricotta, and half of the parmesan cheese.
  • Mix well until all the ricotta cheese is melted and the pasta is coated with the sauce. If the pasta is too dry, add a few tablespoons at the time of the reserved cooking water to the pasta-cheese to soften it.
  • Serve the pasta in warm dishes and sprinkle the remainder of the grated cheese over it.


Calories: 977kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 296mg | Potassium: 637mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1570IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 426mg | Iron: 4mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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