Trader Joe’s Tuesday: Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce


TJT is strong this week, guys. These Trader Joe’s “Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli” are light, just a bit lemon-y, and are perfect with this luscious burst cherry tomato sauce.

If you’re a fan of the “Creamy Tomato Shells” recipe in my cookbook, you’ll recognize the inspiration for this recipe. In the recipe in my book, I simmer the tomatoes in olive oil before blending them into a creamy, emulsified sauce. Here, I simmer them the same way over low heat, but I don’t blend them! I add the ravioli, pasta water (to thicken it and make it saucy), parm, and basil right to the tomatoes and just smash the tomatoes versus blending them so that we can get big cherry tomato chunks in each bite.

It’s delish, you’re gonna love it, and dinner will be on the table in 20 minutes.

5 from 1 vote

Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce

Servings 2 to 4 people (2 as a full meal, 4 with a side)


  • Saucepan or pot (for cooking the ravioli)
  • Large skillet


  • 1/4  cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound  cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2  tsp  kosher salt
  • 1/4  tsp  black pepper
  • 8 -ounce  package of Trader Joe’s Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli  (or other fresh ravioli or tortellini!)
  • 1/4  cup  grated parmesan cheese  (the powder-y kind, not the shredded kind), plus more for garnish
  • 1/4  cup  torn basil, plus more for garnish


  • Extra-virgin olive oil—>  normal olive oil, but we get a lot of our sauce flavor from the EVOO!
  • Garlic—>  You can omit, and add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder when you add in the pasta water etc.
  • Cherry tomatoes—>  any chopped up tomatoes will do the trick!
  • Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli—>  any ravioli or tortellini from any store! Normal pasta (penne, rotini, etc.) is also fab here! TJs has several ravioli varieties that would all be delicious with this sauce – I was there today and saw a corn one that would be great!
  • Parmesan cheese—>  you can omit this cheese if you want! The pasta water makes things plenty creamy. You just might need to add another pinch of salt to your pasta since the parm adds a lot of salty umami flavor
  • Basil—>  you can also omit this! Or add a pinch of whatever Italian-ish dried herb you have. Want to add greens to your pasta? Add 1 or 2 cups of chopped spinach or kale when you add the pasta water. You might need an extra splash of pasta water. 


  • Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add 1 pound cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are beginning to burst.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook 8 ounces ravioli for 3 minutes when the tomatoes are looking near-ready. DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER, YOU NEED IT FOR YOUR SAUCE!
  • Smash most of the tomatoes gently with a wooden spoon or spatula. Remove skillet from heat.
  • Add the cooked ravioli, 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the tomato mixture and toss to combine until a silky sauce coats the ravioli.
  • Add in 1/4 cup torn basil and toss to combine.Serve immediately, garnished with more basil and parmesan.


  • Easily doubles for a crowd!
  • In the mood for a smooth tomato sauce? Transfer the olive oil, garlic, and tomato mixture to a blender once the tomatoes are starting to burst. Add the pasta water and parmesan and blend until smooth.
Author: Caroline Chambers
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Join the Conversation

  1. Made and devoured this last night for dinner – so delicious and easy! Subbed larger chopped tomatoes since we didn’t have cherry – simmered them for about 10ish minutes to soften and decreased the amount of pasta water since using chopped toms obviously gave off more liquid than whole cherry. Excellent summer pasta dish – light and refreshing!

    1. caroline chambers says:

      GREAT alteration – thank you so much for sharing so others know!! xoxo

  2. Truly fantastic! The sauce was the perfect combo of velvety texture-y goodness! Paired it with TJ’s Pesto Genovese chix for a hearty dinner tonight. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    1. caroline chambers says:

      GENIUS pairing!!! I’m so glad you loved!!!

  3. So I made an autumnal version with the same ravioli, and it turned out great:
    1. Melt and foam 2 tbsp butter; just before it browns add four cloves smashed garlic and halved cherry tomatoes and let those blister and start to disintegrate
    2. Plop in Two anchovy filets in oil and disintegrate;
    3. Add 1.5 tbsp capers and 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper.
    4. Marry it all together until it’s broken down, about five mins.
    5. Toss in a handful of baby kale and cooked ravioli in and coat; salt if needed.
    6. Top with pecorino and serve.

    1. OMG georgia. sounds absolutely fabulous. thanks so much for sharing your rendition!!

  4. This was delicious! Thank you for taking the time to write this post and share it with the world!

  5. Shelby Bohannan says:

    I’ve made this recipe twice. My husband and I are completely obsessed! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    I never write reviews but this one was worth it. Absolutely perfect in every way. The garlic caramelized during the cooking and the tomatoes tasted sweet and salty and delicious all at the same time. We devoured this and will
    make it again for sure. It was particularly great with the TJ’s lemon ricotta ravioli but I’m excited to try it with other pastas. Thanks for posting this

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