This pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce recipe made me reconcile with ricotta, not a small feat. The ricotta really brings this sauce together and makes it extra creamy. If you are sensitive to tomatoes’ natural sourness, it becomes milder mixed with ricotta. Another plus is that this pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce is chock-full of finely chopped veggies. This way you can trick anyone into eating their vegetables in one big delicious slurp. And you’ll feel less guilty about having pasta for dinner.
You can decrease the amount of pasta and increase the veggies to make it even healthier. Don’t get me wrong there is still a long way for me to go in order to think that putting ricotta in cheesecakes isn’t an atrocity. Who can prefer a ricotta cheesecake with a gritty texture to a silky smooth cream cheese one? Really who? I want an explanation. But I’m slowly starting to see the positive sides of ricotta, and I wonder what I will cook next with it. Anyway, I digress.
PASTA WITH RICOTTA AND TOMATO SAUCE
This pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce recipe comes from one of my dearest friends who made it for me the last time she visited. I couldn’t believe I was really enjoying something with ricotta in it so I had to ask the recipe. Technically it’s a lasagna recipe with these vegetables, ricotta and tomato sauce as a base, layered with lasagna sheets, béchamel (white sauce), and topped with a good amount of grated cheese.
But today I was feeling like having something a bit lighter than lasagna, hence the paccheri, and I was also out of minced beef (am I the only one who assumes there is stuff in the freezer and goes grocery shopping without actually checking?). It’s simpler than lasagna but still very tasty I promise. Since I got the recipe, it became a part of my monthly dinner rotation menus and I’ve made it many times, with or without minced beef. I kinda prefer the vegetarian version but my husband is the type to think that a meal without meat is a waste of time.
FREEZER FRIENDLY RECIPE
It’s a very freezer friendly pasta sauce recipe. I always double the quantity of the sauce ingredients and after dinner, when the ricotta and tomato sauce has cooled down a bit, I freeze the other half. Now one of my pet peeves is people freezing pasta with sauces. Please, don’t make more pasta so you can freeze it mixed with the sauce. Only freeze the sauce and only cook the amount of pasta you would need for one dinner.
It’s a totally normal thing to do with leftover lasagna but with just a pasta sauce it’s not gonna make you gain a lot of extra time to have the pasta already cooked and reheated with the sauce. The texture will be very unsatisfactory and it’s really quick to boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta in it. To use your frozen ricotta and tomato sauce for dinner, thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat it gently in a saucepan while you cook pasta.
LASAGNA AND PACCHERI
➝ How can I turn this into lasagna? While putting the zucchini and mushrooms in the pan, add 300g (10.5 ounces) of minced beef (or not if you prefer vegetarian lasagna). Make a batch of béchamel sauce (white sauce). Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F), grease a deep baking dish with butter. Spread some ricotta and tomato sauce on the base of the dish. Cover with a layer of lasagna sheets, then another layer of ricotta and tomato sauce, a layer of béchamel and a sprinkling of grated cheese (I like a mix of parmesan and pecorino, my friend uses a mix of gruyere and mozzarella). Repeat until you have used all the ingredients, finishing with cheeses. Bake for 45 min or until the surface is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 min before serving. Enjoy!
➝ What is paccheri? Paccheri is a type of large tube-shaped pasta. When it’s cooked it flattens and doesn’t keep its rounded shape. If you can’t find it, you can substitute large rigatoni for paccheri. I love using paccheri with hearty chunky sauces because they capture the sauce beautifully in their tubes. Paccheri pasta makes for perfect bites.
➝ What pasta should I use? I have high standards for my pasta nights because they are few and far between. That’s why I only buy ‘good quality’ dry pasta. I don’t want to spend my time preparing the perfect sauce and end up with an average meal because the pasta isn’t as good as it could be. When looking for ‘good quality’ dry pasta made with finely ground semolina flour and water I usually turn to De Cecco, Rummo, Garofalo or Divella. Pick any of them and I promise, you won’t be disappointed. They might be 50c to 1€ more expensive than their counterparts but they are well worth it!
Are you looking for other pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:Print
Pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 3 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
A pasta recipe chock-full of finely chopped veggies with a ricotta and tomato sauce. You don’t need to feel guilty anymore about having pasta for dinner! [healthyish + freezer friendly]
2 tbsp olive oil
1 big onion
2 garlic cloves
100g dried tomatoes (1 ½ cup)
1*120g tin of diced mushroom (8-ounce can)
120ml white wine (1/2 cup)
1*300g tin of plum tomatoes (10-ounce can or 1 ¼ cup)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 vegetable stock cube
half a bunch of basil, leaves only, torn
125g ricotta (1/2 cup)
300g dry paccheri (4 cups)
3 tbsp parmesan
Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and zucchini. Dice the dried tomatoes.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, cook for 10 min until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped garlic and dried tomatoes and continue cooking for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
Add the zucchini and mushrooms, mix well with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 10 min or until wilted.
Pour in the wine and leave to bubble and cook away for 4 min.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, stir well, try breaking the plum tomatoes apart a little with the spoon. Sprinkle the sugar, season with salt and pepper.
Pour 200ml of boiling water in a bowl and dilute the vegetable stock cube in it. Pour the stock mixture in the pan, increase the heat a little bit and bring the sauce to a boil. Then cover with a lid and let it simmer 10 min over a lower heat. Give it a stir from time to time. Meanwhile bring a big pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the basil and ricotta to the sauce, stir well until combined. Taste and season accordingly. If it looks a bit dry add a splash of water to help it along.
Put the lid back on again and let the sauce simmer at a very low heat while you cook the pasta. When it’s ready the sauce should have the consistency of a ragù.
Once the paccheri is 1 min short of ready, drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water.
Spoon half of the sauce in the plates, put the drained paccheri on the sauce and spoon the other half of the sauce on top of the paccheri. Delicately toss to coat the paccheri, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
- Serving Size: 1 plate
- Calories: 612
- Fat: 16.3g
Keywords: tomato sauce, ricotta, ricotta and tomato sauce, pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce
white wine dry or sweet or chardonnay. Paccheri ??? canned mushrooms to much liquid. how about fresh ?? also could you show a n index to find recipes. ,like what cuisine country ingredient and so on. ??? this recipe found by looking at another HELP ASSISTANCE. it looks awesome. and the chicken Caribbean one is dynamite. been cooking for 72 years can remember my first. fried eggs sunny side up snuck down to basement kitchen early before everyone was up so I would not be scolded for being near flame on stove. was 6 yrs old ..made my own flame grilled small fish outside on return from a small lake a mile walk away yummy love what recipes I have found you are an amazing person I was delighted to read about you. I also grow a nice garden, all heirloom vegetables like kohlrab , bon chow , cabbages carrots 5 kinds , beets 3 kinds , radishes 3 kinds ,French are my favorite, German next best , rutabaga , 7 kinds pole and bush beans , escarole love it in a chicken broth with white beans , herbs lots of em , roman lettuce bib lettuce , Nagasaki cabbage , thing You can not buy at da markets . love to cook love fishing love the LORD ,
I’m also delighted to read your stories, they always brighten my day!
I could totally picture you cooking as a little kid! I used to wait for my dad to go to the supermarket so I could use the oven to bake in secret.
If you click on ‘recipe box‘ in the menu below the website’s banner, it will take you to the index. There you’ll be able to browse the recipe by types of cuisine of types of meal.
If you are on a phone you’ll have to click first on the 3 bars on the top left corner, next to the banner, to make the menu appear.