Paccheri With Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Adapted from a recipe by Arthur Schwartz at TheFoodMaven.com.
- Servings: 4.
Paccheri is a large rigatoni pasta, large enough to stuff with sausage or cheese, but not so large that you can't serve it with a satisfying simple tomato sauce that seeps into the interior of the meaty pasta tubes that collapse upon themselves as they cook.
In this recipe, adapted from one by author and Italian food expert Arthur Schwartz, a smooth tomato sauce is lightened in color but enriched in flavor with the addition of milky ricotta. He refers to the pasta itself as a very Neapolitan-type pasta, meaning one that is used in the cooking of Naples. Many Neapolitan paccheri recipes are made with seafood, a common ingredient in that city's cuisine. But I love it best with this tomato-ricotta sauce that keeps this big, satisfying pasta at the center of the eating.
If you can't find paccheri, you can substitute rigatoni. If you have a favorite jarred tomato or marinara sauce, you can use that, making this a quick weeknight dish. But for the best flavor, take the extra 30 minutes or so to make a fresh pan of tomato sauce and buy the best ricotta you can find.
- 2 cups smooth tomato sauce
- 1 cup ricotta (whole milk is best for flavor and richness)
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- 1 pound paccheri (or rigatoni if you can't find paccheri)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan to serve at the table
- Make your favorite tomato sauce or heat 2 cups of your favorite jarred sauce. Keep the sauce hot but not cooking while you prepare the pasta.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the ricotta with the grated cheese and stir with a fork until well mixed.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta as directed to al dente. Just before you drain the pasta, scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Add about half of the hot tomato sauce with the cheese mixture. Stir well to combine. Add several grinds of black pepper and stir again.
- Add the drained, hot pasta into the serving bowl with the tomato-cheese mixture and toss to combine, adding a little of the hot pasta cooking water to help combine all the ingredients. Add only about a tablespoon at a time so that things don't get too soupy.
- Serve immediately, adding a little more sauce on top of each serving.
- Pass the extra grated cheese and the peppermill so that each person can season it their way.