Ricotta is one of the wonders of the world.
It’s at home in desserts as well as entrees. Ricotta adds a creaminess to strong sauces and balances out a dish that otherwise would have seemed a bit too strong. Ricotta is subtle. The way it tempers a tomato sauce fiery with crushed hot pepper flakes, leaves just a hint of the heat and brings out the flavors of the tomatoes, parsley and rosemary is magical. Or a cheesecake , light as air and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and the zests of an orange and a lemon becomes something special.
It can do a lot for a dish.
For a fast weeknight supper, try this pasta. It showcases ricotta and how it will melt in a dish and bring out the flavors of a favorite tomato sauce. Use egg noodles for this sauce. Papardelle or fettuccine work best.
Papardelle with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta
Adapted from Trattoria by Patricia Wells
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
A good sized pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt to taste
A couple of sprigs of fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme, celery leaves and a bay leaf tied together with twine.
1 14 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
½ pound dried Papardelle egg noodles
5 ounces whole milk ricotta
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Put a couple of swirls extra virgin olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta and add the onions, crushed peppers, a good pinch of coarse salt and the herbs . Stir to coat with oil. Cook, uncovered over very low heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelized…… takes about 20 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, and simmer uncovered until it begins to thicken.
In large pot bring about 6 quarts water to boil. Add salt and pasta stirring so it doesn’t stick. Cook til tender. Drain thoroughly.
Add drained pasta to skillet. Toss. Add about ¾ of the ricotta and toss again and cover. Let rest off heat for a couple of minutes . Then add remaining ricotta and add chopped Italian parsley for garnish.