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Add some protein and fibre to the deliciously simple viral dish. 

There’s a reason that Emily Mariko’s original lemon spaghetti has over 18 million views on TikTok: with just five ingredients, it’s a simple store-cupboard win. While we’re here for quick weeknight feeds, we probably need something more substantial on nights we’re ravenous from the days workout.

When that hunger strikes, we’ll be opting for this slightly more complex but protein-packed lemon pasta dinner. Adding extra cheese in the form of ricotta increases the protein content to support recovery, while spinach, parsley, fennel and shallots increase the plant count of the dish to support that all-important gut diversity. The recipe may not fit in a 30-second viral clip, but it will see your tired body all the way through the evening. 

Ricotta and parmesan lemon pasta recipe

Serves: 2

Total time: 35 minutes


1 fennel

1 echalion shallot, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, grated or crushed

1 lemon

1/2 red bullet chilli, deseeded and finly chopped

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

200 grams wheat spaghetti

25 grams pistachios

500g baby spinach

200g ricotta Cheese

40g grated hard Italian style cheese

Olive oil


TikTok lemon spaghetti


Trim off any small leaves from the fennel and keep to one side. Cut the fennel in half lengthways through the root, remove the triangular root, then thinly slice the rest. Zest the lemon, then cut in half. 

Put a large saucepan of water with a pinch of salt on to boil for the pasta. Heat a splash of oil in another large saucepan over medium-high heat. 

Add the sliced fennel and shallot and cook until softened, stirring frequently for seven to eight minutes. Add the garlic, cook for one minute more, then add 100ml of water. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

Add the spaghetti to your pan of boiling water and cook for 11 minutes. When cooked, drain in a colander and return to the pan with a drizzle of oil to stop it from sticking together. 

In the meantime, shell the pistachios, then roughly chop.

When the pasta has five mins cooking time left, reheat the fennel mixture over medium heat. Add the baby spinach, stir through and cook until wilted. 

Stir in the ricotta, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Warm through (but do not boil), then remove from the heat. Taste and add lemon juice and red chilli to your liking.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce along with the parsley and three-quarters of the hard Italian cheese. Taste again and add more chilli, lemon juice and salt and pepper if it needs it. 

Serve the pasta in deep bowls with a sprinkling of remaining hard Italian cheese and the pistachios. Top with the fennel leaves. 

Recipe and images courtesy of Hello Fresh. 

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