Lemony Green Pasta with Peas & Ricotta

4 servings


30 minutes

total time


Fine sea salt

1 large bunch (8 ounces) kale*, preferably Tuscan/lacinato but any variety works

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

Zest and juice from 1 medium lemon, preferably organic

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, reduce or omit if sensitive to spice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 pound (8 ounces) rigatoni or pappardelle or pasta of choice

2 cups (8 ounces) fresh or frozen peas

3/4 cup (2 ounces) coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup or more ricotta cheese, for garnish


Bring a large pot (5-quart capacity or greater) of heavily salted water to boil. Meanwhile, prepare your kale by slicing or stripping the leaves from the stems (save them). Discard the rough bottom of the stems, then slice the stems into pieces about 1/4-inch wide. Place the stem pieces in a fine-mesh sieve.

When the water is boiling, place the sieve in the water, resting the lip against the top of the pot. Cook the stems for 3 minutes, then remove the sieve and add all of the kale leaves to the pot. Put the sieve back in the water on top of the leaves and cook for 5 minutes (do not drain the water).

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle, then reduce the heat to low. Cook gently, lightly shimmying the pan and turning the garlic every now and then, until the garlic is soften and turning lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the contents into a stand blender.

Add the cooked kale stems to the blender when the time’s up. Use tongs to transfer the kale leaves over to the blender (you actually want to bring some of the water with them). Add most of the zest from the lemon, and 1 tablespoon of the juice. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, the red pepper flakes (if using), plus about 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper.

Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and silky, adding more spoonfuls of water if necessary to gain traction. Taste, and add more salt, pepper or pepper flakes, and/or another tablespoon of lemon if desired. We want it to taste lemony! Set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to the package directions, stirring often. Place the peas in the sieve and cook them in the water until they’re warmed throughout, about 1 to 2 minutes if fresh, or 2 to 3 minutes if frozen. Set the peas aside.

Before draining the pasta, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water with a heat-safe measuring cup. Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot. Pour in the green sauce, about 3/4 of the Parmesan and the peas, and add a small splash of the reserved cooking water (not the end of the world if you forgot it). Stir gently until the pasta is well coated and bright green, adding another splash or two of pasta water to loosen the sauce and make it almost creamy.

Divide into bowls immediately. Top each with a sprinkle of the remaining Parmesan, a few dollops of ricotta, and a sprinkle of lemon zest and red pepper flakes (both optional). Finish the bowls with a light drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy! Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, covered (technically, they’ll last up to 4, but the flavor degrades as time goes on).


Serving Size

1 of 4 servings (sodium



Total Fat

23.6 g

Saturated Fat

7.3 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat

0 g


26 mg


643.7 mg

Total Carbohydrate

57.7 g

Dietary Fiber

6.6 g

Total Sugars

6.1 g


21.8 g

4 servings


30 minutes

total time
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