Pan-fried pasta with pesto and ricotta

One of the great things about pasta is that it's easy to prepare ahead of time, and will last several days in the refrigerator. The next time you're doing a spaghetti or fettuccini dinner, reserve a little for a fast meal later.

This dish can be prepared from fresh or refrigerated pasta in a single skillet. Feel free to adjust the quantities to taste, or double it and serve with a veggie side as a full meal.


  • A serving of leftover spaghetti or fettuccini
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (about two cloves) of finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of pesto
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • A pinch of coarse kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Time Estimates

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10 min

Total time: 15 min


  1. Bring a large skillet or wok to high heat and add the olive oil, covering the pan bottom. Add the garlic and spaghetti. Toss, turning occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the ricotta cheese, basil, and a pinch of salt. Toss thoroughly, distributing the ricotta and basil through the pasta. Continue heating about 2 minutes until all the ingredients are warm. Don't allow the garlic to burn.
  3. Immediately serve the pasta and combined ingredients to a large plate. Garnish liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil, if available. Bonus points if it came from your own garden!

Serves 1.

Editor’s note: This story was original written for Lighter Footstep (Copyright 2009)and is now owned by Mother Nature Network.

Pan-fried pasta with pesto and ricotta
Here's a tasty and inexpensive way to turn a bit of leftover pasta into a savory meal. And it goes from pan to plate in about 5 minutes.