.css-1x6o2wf{background-color:bg-block-content-three-col;}.css-1x6o2wf h2 span:hover{color:#FF553E;}.css-10g1yb6{display:block;font-family:GTHaptikBold,GTHaptikBold-roboto,GTHaptikBold-local,Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif;font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}@media (any-hover: hover){.css-10g1yb6:hover{color:link-hover;}}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-10g1yb6{margin-bottom:0.25rem;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.3;}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.css-10g1yb6{margin-bottom:0.5rem;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-10g1yb6{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.1;}}Lemon, Ricotta & Asparagus Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is our summer BBQ bestie. It has range, from a cowboy or Caprese-inspired salad to recipes full of Thai, Greek, or Cajun flavors, or even salads inspired by a lobster roll, chicken Caesar salad, or bruschetta. While pasta salad can get creaminess from mayo, sour cream, or yogurt, we want to make a case for ricotta. Already beloved in hot pasta dishes like our lemon-ricotta pasta, ricotta is a natural for pasta salads too. Mixed with fresh lemon juice and zest, plenty of grated Parmesan, and pasta water, the ricotta melts into a creamy, bright sauce without any additional oil. The fresh dairy flavor feels a little unexpected and totally elegant all at once, making this salad a perfect side dish to your spring and summer gatherings.

The pasta:
A ridged pasta shape, like rigatoni, penne, or cavatappi, is the ideal canvas for this silky sauce. A more twirly shape, like gemelli or campanelle, is both eye-catching and sauce-collecting, so either would be a good choice here too.

The mix-ins:
We kept it simple: asparagus, fresh basil, and lots of both. We use 2 pounds asparagus to 1 pound pasta, guaranteeing tender veg in every bite. Blanching the asparagus in boiling, salted water, then draining and shocking it in ice water keeps it perfectly cooked and bright green too. Fresh basil leaves are stacked, rolled into a cigar shape, and thinly sliced, giving the salad a peppery, herbaceous flavor in each forkful.

This pasta salad is hearty, feeding 4 to 6 as a main and 8 to 10 as a side. Make it even more substantial with cold grilled chicken slices or drained, rinsed chickpeas.

Leftovers will keep in the airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. The basil will wilt, but the flavor will still be excellent.

Did you make this fabulous pasta salad? Let us know in the comments!