On those cold winter evenings when you’re craving something rich and hearty for dinner, look no further than this comforting and rustic creamy ricotta rigatoni.
This was my exact inspiration for this recipe. The snow was falling, it was bitter cold outside and that evening laziness was creeping up on me. I needed a quick, easy to make, yet satisfying dinner for the family and this creamy ricotta rigatoni did the trick!
Ricotta cheese and pasta are like two peas in a pod! When added to steaming hot pasta the ricotta melts into a creamy, rich sauce and sticks to the pasta like glue, coating it like a blanket of snow.
The Parmesan adds just the right bite and the grated lemon zest adds a touch of freshness. A sprinkle of fresh, earthy basil and the dish is complete!
475 grams pasta of choice
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced (or halved and removed)
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
4-5 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. When boiling add 1-2 tbs. of salt, as desired. Add the pasta and cook according to instructions.
*Remove the pasta about 2 minutes before it’s fully cooked when it still has that chewy bite to it!
In the meantime, heat 2 tbs. extra virfin olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
Reduce the heat to low, add the ricotta, 1/2 of the basil, 1/2 of the lemon zest, and the Parmesan and stir to combine. Add about 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water to the ricotta and stir to combine. Let simmer until the pasta is ready.
When the pasta is ready, drain (reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water) then add the pasta directly into the pan with the ricotta.
Stir to combine, adding 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water if necessary to create a smoother, more liquid sauce. If needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is well coated.
Serve immediately, garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the remaining basil and lemon, and a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese.