Pasta con la ricotta (Pasta with Ricotta Cheese)

Pasta con la ricotta

Pasta and ricotta make for a perfect impromptu meal or weekend dinner. The mellow flavor combination of tomato, ricotta and a bit of parmesan cheese is vaguely reminiscent of southern-style lasagna. But, like many simple pasta dishes, it’ll be done in less than 30 minutes—the time it takes to bring the water to the boil and cook your pasta.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 people

  • 400-500g (3/4- 1 lb.) of short pasta (see Notes)
  • 200-250g (7-8 oz.) of canned tomatoes, whole or crushed, or passata (see Notes)
  • A garlic clove, peeled and slightly crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 250-300g (7-8 oz.) of ricotta (or to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese (to taste)

Optional:

  • A fresh basil leaf or two

Directions

Put the water on the boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, begin your sauce: add the tomato, a drizzle of olive oil, the whole garlic clove, the basil (if using) and a pinch of salt to a heavy saucepan or pot and let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, just enough to lightly cook the tomato and meld the flavors—or, if you like you can keep it at the barest simmer until the pasta is done. Remove the garlic clove.

When the water comes to a boil, salt it generously. Then add your pasta and cook it al dente.

When the pasta is done, drain it—but not too well—and add it to the pot with the tomato sauce over very gentle heat. Mix well, then add a few dollops of ricotta, enough to coat the pasta nicely but not enough to ‘bury’ it. I usually don’t measure, I just mix the pasta after adding each dollop to see if I need more and keep adding until I reach the consistency I want. Add a bit of the pasta water if the mixture seems too thick. Then add grated parmesan (a spoonful per person should do) and mix again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. (Remember, ricotta is rather bland and you’ll need to season well.)

Top with some more grated parmesan cheese if you like, and serve immediately.

Notes

This sauce goes with almost any kind of short pasta. I think rigatoni or paccheri are particularly nice made this way. In Puglia, they would use orecchiette. I’ve also tried curly lasagna noodles (sometimes called reginette) and broke them into short lengths, and liked them, too.

The simple tomato sauce can be made from canned tomatoes that you have squeezed between your fingers (if they are of proper quality, they should melt down in no time into a sauce) or crushed tomatoes (which will give you a more assertive tomato flavor) or sieved tomatoes in jars, known as passata di pomodoro. You may have noticed that, exceptionally, this tomato sauce does not begin by frying the garlic in oil. Instead, you just add the garlic and oil, raw, directly into the tomatoes. Angelina used to make tomato sauce this way sometimes. It makes for a lighter, mellower tasting sauce, with just the barest hint of garlic, which is just what you want here to complement the delicate flavor of the ricotta.

You can also make this sauce entirely in bianco—just add the ricotta to the cooked pasta with salt and some of the pasta water. It’s surprisingly good. Now that’s what I call simple but delicious cooking!

Pasta con la ricotta (Pasta with Ricotta Cheese)

Rating: 51

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Pasta con la ricotta (Pasta with Ricotta Cheese)

Ingredients

  • 400-500g (3/4- 1 lb.) of short pasta (see Notes)
  • 200-250g (7-8 oz.) of canned tomatoes, whole or crushed, or passata (see Notes)
  • A garlic clove, peeled and slightly crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 250-300g (7-8 oz.) of ricotta (or to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese (to taste)

Directions

  1. Put the water on the boil for the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, begin your sauce: add the tomato, a drizzle of olive oil, the whole garlic clove, the basil (if using) and a pinch of salt to a heavy saucepan or pot and let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, just enough to lightly cook the tomato and meld the flavors—or, if you like you can keep it at the barest simmer until the pasta is done. Remove the garlic clove.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, salt it generously. Then add your pasta and cook it al dente.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain it—but not too well—and add it to the pot with the tomato sauce over very gentle heat. Mix well, then add a few dollops of ricotta, enough to coat the pasta nicely but not enough to 'bury' it. I usually don't measure, I just mix the pasta after adding each dollop to see if I need more and keep adding until I reach the consistency I want. Add a bit of the pasta water if the mixture seems too thick. Then add grated parmesan (a spoonful per person should do) and mix again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. (Remember, ricotta is rather bland and you'll need to season well.)
  5. Top with some more grated parmesan cheese if you like, and serve immediately.
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25 Responses to “Pasta con la ricotta (Pasta with Ricotta Cheese)”

  1. 9 February 2014 at 02:08 #

    Olá que bela receita muito obrigado vou fazer.

  2. 4 February 2014 at 11:09 #

    This is one of my favorite go-to pastas. Sometimes, especially before I had to feed two little ones at every meal, I used to add a healthy glug of Tabasco to it.

  3. Edit
    2 February 2014 at 12:28 #

    Thank you for the recipe, it was very delicious. We ate it with your toscan fried chicken breasts, for otherwise my husband would have missed some meat, both were very good. And thanks once again, this time for the detailed instructions for frying the chicken, they really helped a lot.

  4. 29 January 2014 at 15:36 #

    Thanks for mentioned our region!

  5. 27 January 2014 at 00:15 #

    :)

  6. 3 March 2012 at 09:45 #

    Thanks, Xean! It is pretty yummy, if I do say so myself!

  7. 29 February 2012 at 09:48 #

    beautiful! and looks so yummy! :)

  8. 22 December 2011 at 20:14 #

    Thanks, gals. Simplicity, as wise person once said, is the highest form of sophistication.

  9. 14 December 2011 at 17:21 #

    I love ricotta and I am always forgetting to get some – or better, make some – and use it as the star in a dish like this. Simple perfection.

  10. 13 December 2011 at 06:26 #

    Ricotta is a brilliant condiment for pasta. My family loves when I prepare our fave dish!

  11. 11 December 2011 at 19:56 #

    And @Manu: Many, many thanks for your kind gesture. It's a real honor coming from such a fantastic cook and blogger!

  12. 11 December 2011 at 19:54 #

    Thanks, friends, for all your wonderful comments, as always. And @Ciao Chow Linda: do let us know how you liked it…

  13. 9 December 2011 at 05:03 #

    Hi Frank! I have a few awards waiting for you here: http://www.manusmenu.com/salted-caramel-macarons !!! :-)

  14. 8 December 2011 at 08:28 #

    This pasta looks just unbelievable, I never learnt to make pasta in this life, but maybe I will try once again to make, because the whole family loves it!

  15. 6 December 2011 at 23:24 #

    What a simple and delicious looking meal! I love the ricotta in the tomato sauce; however, I would have to leave in the garlic clove. But then I'm one of those that believe you can never get enough garlic. :)

  16. 5 December 2011 at 21:33 #

    This will be on my dinner table tomorrow night – need to run out for ricotta.

  17. 5 December 2011 at 20:39 #

    Delicious! My mom's favourite pasta is just with ricotta (the “in bianco” version). Yours looks so good! Ohhh now I am hungry again and I just had lunch!!!

  18. 5 December 2011 at 12:57 #

    And if would stop spoon-feeding myself the ricotta – I'd have enough to make this tonight.

  19. 5 December 2011 at 08:05 #

    very nice Frank, this is indeed a perfect mellow, weekend meal… this is just the type of cooking I enjoy, simple and from the heart of the kitchen

  20. 4 December 2011 at 23:12 #

    I haven't tried this wonderful dish but I'm sure it's delicious. The cream sauce makes it a lovely pasta dish :)

    Frank, would love to have you join me @ Promote Your Blog @ Shirley's Luxury Haven! DIY This X’mas With 12 Lovely Recipes! Happy Holidays!

  21. 4 December 2011 at 22:15 #

    Who wouldn't love this?
    LL

  22. 4 December 2011 at 17:41 #

    I love ricotta,it's perfect for a creamy sauce pasta..have a good week…

  23. 4 December 2011 at 15:38 #

    Just lovely. So simple, and such a wonderful comfort dish for a December evening. :-)

  24. 4 December 2011 at 12:35 #

    This looks perfect for a quick, light and delicious side. I'm looking forward to trying this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  25. 4 December 2011 at 11:35 #

    Simply delicious. I love creamy sauces and ricotta makes for a very creamy pasta!

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