Using Leftover Ricotta for a Cheesy Pasta Dish

Updated on February 29, 2020
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Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts, and culture, and sharing that knowledge.

Easy cheesy ricotta pasta!
Easy cheesy ricotta pasta! | Source

Make Easy Cheesy Pasta

The other day, I made some delicious lasagna, but I had some ricotta cheese left over. There it sat in the refrigerator, staring at me every time I opened it, beckoning me to use it.

But what for? What do you use ricotta cheese for besides lasagna?

I hopped on the web and you can use it in various desserts, including cookies and cheesecake. I'll definitely be trying some of that.

But I had a pasta craving and no, I didn't have nearly enough to make a whole batch of lasagna. Besides, it was lunchtime and I was hungry for something warm and easy.

l played around with some simple ingredients I had in my kitchen and I came up with a recipe that makes macaroni and cheese pale like a bad pile of mozzarella.

Read on to find out how I made an easy cheesy pasta dish with my leftover ricotta cheese and discovered that it's one that I'll make over and over again!

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Serves 4
A few simple ingredients are all you need to make a great pasta dish.
A few simple ingredients are all you need to make a great pasta dish. | Source


  • 1/2 bag (6 oz.) pasta
  • water
  • 1/4 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3-4 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

A couple of things to keep in mind as you make this:

  • If you don't have 1 cup of ricotta cheese, just add that extra mozzarella cheese. For example: if you only have 1/2 cup of ricotta, add an extra 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
  • Play around with this a bit. If you don't like onion that much, use less or none at all. If you love garlic, add more. Your friends and family will love you!
  • Try different cheeses—cheddar for a different effect and taste with added color, and Parmesan adds texture.

Easy cheesy pasta ready to go in the oven.
Easy cheesy pasta ready to go in the oven. | Source


  1. Cook pasta according to instructions using the water. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. While pasta is cooking, dice and mince the garlic and onion.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, garlic and onion and melted butter. Blend on a low setting for about 30 seconds, or until it's blended. If you don't have a blender, mix by hand until well-blended.
  4. Spray a casserole dish (or an 8x8" baking pan) and fill it with the pasta. Add enough mozzarella cheese to cover.
  5. Spoon the ricotta mixture evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 20-–25 minutes or until the sides of the dish begin to brown. Serve hot.
Freshly baked cheesy pasta.
Freshly baked cheesy pasta. | Source

Did You Know?

  • When you slice an onion, if it's cold, the vapors won't affect you as much—more incentive to store unused onion in the refrigerator.
  • When you do cut into the onion, run it under cold water a bit to help cut down on the chances of the vapors making your eyes tear up. Breathe through your mouth as you cut the onion—this will really help to keep your eyes from watering.
  • When you're cooking the pasta, add a little oil to the water to help keep it from bubbling over. Adding a little more oil after you've drained the pasta will help keep it from sticking.

Delicious pasta with leftover ricotta.
Delicious pasta with leftover ricotta. | Source

Better Than Macaroni!

It's better than macaroni! Your family will love it!

If you still have leftover ricotta cheese, you can always freeze it for next time.

Heat leftovers in the microwave or reheat in a pan with a little bit of butter coating the bottom, and maybe a bit of added milk.

3.7 stars from 10 ratings of Easy Cheesy Pasta

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


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    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      2 months ago from Western NC

      Hi, John, you could try some heavy whipping cream, plant-based butter, try reducing the amount of butter you use, tasting as you go, and trying different light oils, such as olive oil or sunflower oil. (Olive oil has more of a taste to it - just be aware.) Try using small amounts of these different things at first and see what works. :)

    • profile image

      John D Gibson 

      2 months ago

      This sounds great and I have lots of leftover Ricotta. However, I am not a fan of butter, not to mention an entire stick. Is there anyway to substitute for the butter and/or substantially reduce the amount? Thanks for the recipe and I would appreciate your feedback.

    • pitachan profile image


      3 years ago from Pennsyltucky

      Never thought I'd need a recipe like this, but I had 2+ cups of ricotta filling leftover after make three pans of manicotti and I just couldn't throw it out (or make another tray--manicotti up to my eyeballs for the three of us, at this point). I had all of the staples on hand (garlic, onion, mozzarella), including a bag of egg noodles (12 oz). This made a wonderful tray of grown-up mac and cheese! So aromatic and flavorful, my cave-dwelling 16-year old actually emerged to see what I was making and devoured it. Thank you for this simple, yet delicious, way of making the most of a pretty unique leftover!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Glassvisage - haha, I love these "comfort food" recipes and making things from scratch with things on hand is always fun. Hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

    • glassvisage profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California

      The photos really help make this a wonderful Hub... and also tempt me to make this :) It reminds me of what my mom used to fix me in high school, and why I weighed 35 pounds more in high school than I do now, haha! Thanks for sharing!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Bravewarrior - I love pasta and cheese, too. Yeah, just the other day, I made a pumpkin soup with ingredients that just sounded good to me and I have to tell you, I think I'll be making that stuff on a weekly basis. Hehe.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      This sounds great! I love pasta and cheese. I have found the best recipes are the ones that come from your imagination and whatever you have on hand!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Carol - I love anything cheesy, too. It's a weakness for sure. Hehehe. Thank you so much for your kind comments!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I love anything cheesy. And using leftovers is always good. Getting hungry reading this.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Teaches - hehe, the enjoyment factor is high risk for sure. HAHAHA. It's really good too, though. Thank you for stopping by!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Very original! I think this would be very addictive for me, but I would truly enjoy myself in spite of the high risk. 5 stars from me!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Aviannovice - thank you. :) Rice pasta sounds splendid! :)

      Aykianink - absolutely right!

      Randomcreative - leftover ricotta was always a mystery for me until I decided to investigate. :)

      Kitkat1141 - thank you. It's really good!

    • kitkat1141 profile image


      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for the great idea. I will definitely try this.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      What a great idea for leftover ricotta! Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

    • aykianink profile image


      7 years ago

      Cheese + pasta = good meal! Fun hub:-)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds great, and I don't have to worry at all about it being wheat free, since I use rice pasta.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Peggy - Oh, I go nuts when I see food go bad. I feel like I'm throwing away money. Thank you for coming by!

      Europewalker - you're right: there's no going wrong with pasta and cheese. Hehe. Thank you. :)

      Alocsin - do it!! Come back and let me know how it went. Cheers!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Mhatter99 - completely unrelated to this hub, but I have to tell you that I love your user name and it makes me want to have a tea party. LOL. Thank you so much for coming by.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Vicki - I love how you think, too. :D It was tasty...and garlicky. :)

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Janine - That dang Hurricane! Well, maybe next time, eh? :) Thank you so much for coming by!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This looks easy enough for me to try to make. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • europewalker profile image


      7 years ago

      I don't like wasting food either, love this recipe. You can't go wrong with pasta and cheese, thanks for sharing:)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I hate to see anything go to waste so appreciate the way you created a good way to use some ricotta cheese that was left over from making lasagna. Very ingenious of you! Up and useful. Sounds good!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this handy and delicious idea.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Yums! I like how you think! I've also put leftover ricotta in the freezer to use later. Works. Great hub. Tasty food, C!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 years ago from New York, New York

      Cyndi, great recipe and too bad I had leftover ricotta cheese in my refrigerator before the hurricane and had to throw it out, because it went bad sitting in unpowered refrigerator. Oh well maybe next time. Thanks for sharing and pinned to try, voted up and shared all over!!


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