Friday, April 20, 2018

Creamy Ricotta Pasta Sauce – Now 100% Cream-Free!

I enjoy the taste and texture of a classic cream sauce, but what I don’t enjoy is that they tend to be very rich, and filling. I mean, come on, I’m trying to save room for the tiramisu. 

However, by using ricotta cheese, and egg, and some boiling pasta water, we can make a sauce that seems every bit as creamy, and delicious, but will still allow us to walk away from the table under our own power.

I added some pesto to mine this time, but that could have been some sun-dried tomato paste, or roasted chilies, or caramelized mushroom, or diced-up, leftover grilled veggies, or…you get the idea. The technique is really the thing to focus on here, and once perfected, you’ll simply be left trying to figure out what else to add in, or on this lovely sauce.

As I mentioned in the video, I love to top this pasta with ricotta salata. If you’ve never had it before, it’s worth a try, and not just for this dish. Ricotta salata is a great summer cheese, since it’s perfect with things like tomato salads, and grilled peaches, just to name a few. So, keep that in mind, but in the meantime, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
For the sauce base:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
zest from 1 lemon
cayenne to taste
about 2/3 cup hot pasta water, plus more if needed
For the pasta:
8 ounces dry pasta, cooked 1 minute under
1/4 cup pesto, or to taste
lots of grated ricotta salata to finish


Kathy Grant said...

Say YES to ricotta (thanks a-lotta....) perhaps with a wee bit of nutmeg??? You are the Chef Boyardee of whether to copy me :) Thank you, Chef John!!!

Mariah Stone said...

Chef John,
I have a friend who was just told to cut out pasta by his doctor (his Italian heart is broken). This recipe looks like something his new bride might be able to do but I'd like to know if it is possible/ what kind of thickener to substitute for the pasta water if we use veggie noodles? And how much?

Chelsea Henderson said...

This was FANTASTIC. Perfect for a non-meat kinda night, or you can serve a nice filet on the side. I doubled this and used parm because I couldn't find the hard ricotta. Thanks for another great recipe, Chef John. You are THE BEST.

StorrSchnitter said...

Would lemon juice work aswell if I dont want to use the zest? Or would the acidity destroy the dish?

Thanks for the input and greetings from Germany :)

StorrSchnitter said...

Would lemon juice work here aswell if I dont want to use the zest? Or would the acidity destroy something in the dish?

Thanks for the input and greetings from Germany.

Anthony Oldham said...

Hey Chef John huge fan. I tried making this sauce but the ricotta started clumping up and separating from the sauce. Any advice?

Mark said...

Looks great, but doesn't the o in ricotta rhyme with the one in "off" rather than the one in boat?" I had to drink every time you pronounced it wrong!

AlanJoAnn Schumacher said...

Yummmy. Life is good with an Italian Sausage and Garlic bread and a nice Cab or Zin. Keeper

Tom Guilmette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Guilmette said...

Chef John! Longtime viewer, first time commenter. I have taken my cooking to the next level thanks to your instruction! I am the envy of all my friends with my homemade creme fraiche, fresh breads, and inventive appetizers. I love the blog and always use it as a reference when learning a new technique. Thank you for all you do. Cannot wait to try this recipe out soon!

PS: When you make a video for a part dip or something that would normally be for a group, do you usually have an event that day or is it just for the video and you and Michelle end up eating leftover dip all week?

PPS: You should use some of Michelle's BBQ sauce to make something in a video for a collab!

Can you tell I took advantage of the fact that no one else had commented yet?! Thanks again!



hd said...

I made this dish and you're right, Chef John- it is just as creamy as any cream based sauce. My kids loved it. Thanks for this recipe.

Ronald L. Harris said...

Thanks this looks so good.

Anthony Reyes said...

I am having the same problem as Anthony. Does any know how to remedy the sauce?

Anthony Reyes said...

I am having the same problem as Anthony Oldham. Does anybody know how to remedy the sauce?