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Using Leftover Ricotta for a Cheesy Pasta Dish

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially languages, art and culture.

Easy cheesy ricotta pasta!

Easy cheesy ricotta pasta!

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 timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

35 min

40 min

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.


  • 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.


  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.

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.

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.

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on May 17, 2020:

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. :)

John D Gibson on May 15, 2020:

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.

Mara from Pennsyltucky on July 08, 2017:

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!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 01, 2012:

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 from Northern California on December 01, 2012:

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!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 21, 2012:

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.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 20, 2012:

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!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 14, 2012:

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

carol stanley from Arizona on November 14, 2012:

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

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 11, 2012:

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

Dianna Mendez on November 10, 2012:

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!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 10, 2012:

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 from Ontario, Canada on November 10, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 09, 2012:

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

aykianink on November 09, 2012:

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 09, 2012:

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

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 09, 2012:

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!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 09, 2012:

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.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 09, 2012:

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

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on November 09, 2012:

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

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on November 09, 2012:

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

europewalker on November 09, 2012:

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

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 08, 2012:

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!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 08, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this handy and delicious idea.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on November 08, 2012:

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 from New York, New York on November 08, 2012:

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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