Dairy Farmers of Canada

Summer Harvest Ricotta Pasta Toss

Our dietitians' favourite

This recipe is taken from the 2013 Milk Calendar. When local vegetables are abundant at the market, highlight their fresh flavours with this simple pasta with a light sauce that’s ready by the time the pasta is cooked.

  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cooking: 10 min - 15 min
Yields 4 servings
summer harvest ricotta pasta toss
Taken from the 2013 Milk Calendar, watch the video to see just how easy this delicious and nutritious pasta recipe is to prepare. A light and creamy sauce, vegetables, milk, and Canadian Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses generously coat any short pasta of your choice, in this case, penne. A colourful summer dish!


  • 12 oz (375 g) rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen or fresh green peas
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sweet red pepper diced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Canadian Ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) milk
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 zucchini shredded, divided
  • 1/4 (60 mL) chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
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In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package directions almost until tender. Stir in peas and boil for 1 min.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and red pepper; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in Ricotta cheese, then milk; reduce heat to medium-low and heat, stirring often, for about 5 min or just until hot (do not let boil). Stir in 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over top, stir in half of the zucchini, the basil, lemon zest and juice and toss to coat. Season with up to 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and pepper to taste. Divide among warmed serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining zucchini and parmesan cheese if desired.


To change things up, try fun-shapes of pasta such as farfalle (bow-ties), corkscrew-shaped cavatappi (scoobi doo) or any of the novelty shapes often available at large supermarkets and specialty stores.

Replace the peas with chopped asparagus or green beans. Add chunks of salmon, scallops, shrimp and/or squid and poach in hot sauce before adding Parmesan in step 2.

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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 368 Calories
Protein: 20 g
Carbohydrate: 39 g
Fat: 15 g
Fibre: 4 g
Sodium: 297 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 32 % / 354 mg
Folate: 62 %
Selenium: 68 %
Vitamin B12: 38 %
Vitamin C: 96 %