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Overhead shot of a bowl of pasta salad with asparagus and bacon with a spoon in it, and another bowl to the top left of the frame

Lemon Ricotta Asparagus Pasta Salad with Bacon

This Lemon Ricotta Asparagus Pasta Salad with Bacon is a fun, springy twist on pasta salad! Instead of using mayo or a vinaigrette-based dressing, the pasta gets coated in a ricotta, starchy pasta cooking water, lemon, garlic, and parmesan mixture. It's super creamy and delicious, but still light!

Course Main, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta (I used campanelle, but any short-cut pasta works!)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 1/2'' pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup reserved starchy pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. In the last minute or two of cooking, scoop out 1/2 cup of water with a mug or heatproof measuring cup and set aside. Add the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. 

  2. Add the ricotta to a medium bowl along with the pasta water, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Put pasta and asparagus in a large bowl and add the ricotta mixture. Toss until coated. Add the bacon and scallions and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature, or chill for a few hours and serve cold!