This Penne Pasta features a delicious Tomato Ricotta Sauce which is simply a tomato marinara sauce with a little added ingredient called ricotta. And if you have never had ricotta before, let me tell you that some consider it to be a delicacy.
Most people have never even thought of adding an unripened cheese into a tomato sauce. But, this is no different than adding parmesan cheese to a plate of pasta or directly into sauce.
In fact, adding ricotta to a tomato sauce is authentically Italian and delicious!
Tips and Tricks to Making Penne Pasta with Ricotta Sauce
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta Cheese and Cottage Cheese can be used interchangeably in some recipes. When cheese is made and separated, the curds are used to make cottage cheese, while the whey is used to make ricotta. Both are considered fresh or unripened cheeses and are mild in flavor.
Ricotta is smoother in texture, while cottage cheese is lumpier. In dessert making, you will want to use Ricotta Cheese as the texture is richer, smoother and more appealing.
Some even make their own ricotta cheese by separating the whey from whole milk using an acid like vinegar. If you are interested in making your own ricotta cheese visit Epicurious here.
It Starts With Vine Ripened Tomatoes
The best Marinara Sauce is made from fresh vine ripened tomatoes. And, if you grow your own that’s even better. My mom is the epiphany of Italian tradition in that she grows her own Tomatoes and when sauce season comes around, she’s out there harvesting, ripening and preserving her home grown tomatoes as a puree.
She shares her jars of pureed tomatoes with me and often I use the pureed tomatoes to make my tomato sauce. However, when I run out, I resort to store bought tomato puree.
If you decide you want to try to grow your own tomatoes, keep in mind that there are specific tomatoes that are used for making tomato sauce. In my family, that was the san marzano tomato. The king of tomato for sauce. What makes these tomatoes so special is that they are meaty and have very little pulp and seeds. And usually, you are removing the pulp otherwise the sauce would be too runny. You want a tomato puree that is thick and meaty for the perfect tomato sauce.
If you decide to buy crushed tomatoes, it may take you a while to find the brand of tomato puree that you like. Be patient, you will find it. One of my favorite store bought tomato puree brands is the Aurora Brand, like this one here. For clarity tomato puree = crushed tomatoes.
Pasta and the Finish
You’ve gone through all this trouble to make your home made tomato sauce. Don’t ruin it by pouring it over soggy pasta. Always cook your past as directed by the product instructions and remove the pasta when it’s al dente. Al dente means cooked but firm to the bite.
This Tomato Ricotta Sauce is perfect for penne pasta. But, if you are not into penne, you can pretty much pour it on any type of pasta like spaghetti, orecchiette, gnocchi, linguine, etc... Use your noodle to come up with the perfect pasta compliment to this perfect sauce!
And, of course, top your pasta off with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Oh and by the way don’t buy cheese that comes in a jar in the grocery isle. All good cheese can be found in the deli-cheese section not on a shelf in an isle.
Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for a maximum of 5 days.
Looking for other lip smacking recipes? Click here to search the site for some great inspiration.
Try this recipe for Pasta with Ricotta Sauce now or you can PIN it for later.
- 750 ml tomato puree
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- ¼ cups parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- 2 l water for boiling
- 4 cups penne pasta
- 2 tbsp salt
- In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic until brown using olive oil. Add tomato sauce and bring to boil. Add in tomato paste, salt, and basil. Let sauce come to a boil.
- Take the ricotta and measure out approximately a cup and place it in the saucepan. Using a fork or a spoon break of the ricotta until it is smooth and no longer in clumps. (You can also put the ricotta into a bowl and break it up with a fork before you add it into the saucepan.)
- Add in parmesan cheese. Stir to mix until well combined. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
- When sauce is just about ready boil water in a large pot. Add salt and penne let cook as per package directions (about 8 minutes). Do not over cook remove from water and strain when al dente.
- Once pasta is strained return the past to the large pot where it came from so that combining the sauce is easier. Add sauce by the ladle and mix to combine. Plate pasta and add more sauce if desired.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 479Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 25mgSodium 5488mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 6gSugar 11gProtein 20g
Nutrition data is calculated automatically by Nutritionix and isn't always accurate. I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health.