Penne Pasta with Ricotta, Parmesan and Tomatoes

Midweek meals are often a challenge for cooks on the run, so sometimes an easy pasta dish is the best way to go to feed the family. Add some fresh tomatoes and some cheese into the dish and you are in for one satisfying meal, especially if served with some crusty bread and a healthy salad. Pure comfort food to help fight the rainy spring blues. You can simplify this dish further by using canned tomatoes, though I think fresh cherry tomatoes along with a plump chopped tomato really make this dish, especially with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Red pepper flakes can also be used instead of the chopped fresh chilies. Cheese lovers will be coming back for seconds.

Penne Pasta with Ricotta, Parmesan and TomatoesPenne Pasta with Ricotta, Parmesan and Tomatoes
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on May 17, 2011

Creamy ricotta and Parmesan cheese pasta loaded with tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and fresh basil

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried mushrooms (oyster or porcini)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 green or red chilies, seeded and minced (or a teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes)
  • pinch of asafetida (optional)
  • pinch of ground cayenne (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • scoop of sour cream (optional)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Soak the sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and chop. Set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. When hot, toss in the garlic, chilies or red chili flakes, and asafetida and cayenne if using. Stir for a few minutes to soften the garlic and chilies. Now add the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms, increase the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add some of the reserved soaking water from the sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms to reach your desired consistency.

  • While the tomatoes are cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is just tender. Drain well.

  • Mash or blend the tomatoes together with a hand blender or food processor. Add the pasta to the sauce, adding more water if it is too thick for your liking. Remove the saucepan from the hot element and stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, olives and fresh basil. Add a dollop of sour cream if desired, and season with salt and pepper and gently stir until well combined.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

More pasta recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Rye Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese
Pasta and Feta Cheese Casserole
Cheese-Filled Tortellini with a Spicy Mushroom Sauce
Farfalle Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Asparagus in a White Mushroom Yogurt Sauce


Unknown said...

wow Lisa, the plate looks absolutely delicious and I would love to grab it :)

Priya Suresh said...

Mouthwatering here, delicious pasta..

Indian Khana said...

Love the combo and looks so tempting ..

SM said...

Thanks for suggesting our recent podcast with this dish -- seems like a great pairing!

MapMaster said...

Beautiful, I love the olives

The Food Hunter said...

I want this for dinner....tonight!!!

Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) said...

Oh my goodness, this looks amazingly good.

The Food Hunter said...

Made something very similar this past weekend. Added some sausage to it.

Rosh said...

Hi Lisa!

That looks so yummy! Gonna try it for sure!

There is an award for you waiting to be picked up from my space. Do drop by :)

Chef Al dente
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