Monday, July 18, 2011

July 17: Ricotta Pasta with Tomatoes al Forno

1 pound penne or ziti rigate
   Coarse salt
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
   A generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
   Coarse black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and salt the water. Cook the pasta al dente, with a bite to it.

Place the ricotta, butter, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan or Romano in a large bowl.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO and the onions and garlic and cook until soft, 8 minutes.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and parsley and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Preheat the broiler to high and place the top rack 6 to 8 inches from the broiler.

Drain the pasta. Add it to the bowl with the cheese. Toss to melt the butter and evenly coat the pasta with cheese, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomato sauce and the basil and toss again to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a baking casserole, then evenly distribute the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and the slices of fresh mozzarella over the top.

Place under the broiler and crisp up the top and edges of the pasta, melting and browning the cheeses evenly.


I really like this variation of the Ricotta Pasta. The only thing I might have done differently is to cut the ricotta back to 1 cup instead of 2. It just seems a little too indulgent with all that cheese in there. I only changed the Parmigiano cheese to Parmesan and the serving size from 4 to 6 servings. I wish my house wasn't so hot, but at least I didn't have to turn on the oven, just the broiler. That probably helped a little, although I couldn't tell. It was great to have the experience of cooking in other people's kitchens, but I am so glad to be back in my own! It's nice to know where everything is and how to use everything! Today was potluck day at church, but since I just got back from vacation last night, I didn't have any food to make for it. I had to go grocery shopping (after my nap) to get the ingredients for this and the next few meals.

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