pink ricotta pasta sauce

So our local source of fresh ricotta is Carlino's Market on the Philly Main Line. We passed by during the 2020 corona virus pandemic to grab a few Italian products, including a small container of their home made fresh ricotta, to use in some as yet unknown pasta sauce. Wearing our masks of course. Then Costco surprised us with a 9.99 ten pound bag of Napolitano Garofalo mezzi rigatoni, which we did not hesitate to throw into our cart, given that Wegman's Italian Classics series mezzi rigatoni had been discontinued for some time. Although we prefer whole grain or high protein pasta, we really like the half rigatoni format, which is super excellent for so many pasta sauces. The longer rigatoni are larger bites and don't allow as easy access to interior pasta sauce penetration.

Going to the web for an idea of how to use the ricotta for a pasta sauce led to one with an onion sweet pepper touch of pepperoncino base, pureed and served on ...paccheri, which are like giant mezzi rigatoni! So we compared with our ingredients on hand: 4 aging mini sweet peppers, 4 small on the vine tomatoes, half an onion left over from a week earlier before our week long escape to the Baltimore suburbs for a change of scenery. No pasta there...dieting going on. So our first dinner back had to be pasta, and given our large supply of mezzi rigatoni, things were pretty clear about the shape.

bob diced up the little peppers, chopped up the little tomatoes, ani diced the half onion and we were in business. Hand blender pureeing was a bit messy, but worked for the most part. No need to puree every bit. At the moment of combining the ricotta with the pasta in the sauce over heat, bob was a bit worried that the globs of ricotta might not cooperate, but Ani nudged them along with some hot pasta water to create a super delicious creamy sauced pasta. Costco also had contributed a really big bag of pregrated pecorino romano (cheap of course, how could we resist?) that added a bit of flavor upgrade. The result was really delicious. bob had three helpings, we finished a pound of pasta in 5 (in-law guests). A successful experiment that merits imitation and repetition.


1 lb pasta, mezzi rigatoni work nicely, but nearly any shape is okay
1 sweet bell pepper, or the equivalent in mini peppers, finely chopped
1 smallish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
olive oil for sauteeing
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a touch of pepperoncino, to taste
1 T tomato paste
1 T pepper paste
about 1/2 lb fresh ricotta, room temperature
reserved pasta water
1/3 c parmigiano or pecorino romano, grated
a few T freshly chopped basil,for garnish.


  1. Prep the veggies, cutting and chopping. 
  2. Heat the olive oil and toss in the onion to soften it up a bit, then throw in the bell peppers and garlic and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, spices and pastes and let simmer another 15-20 minutes while the pasta water is boiling.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, then drain.
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat and use a hand blender to process most of it, don't worry if you can't smooth it completely.
  6. Return to the burner on low heat and combine with the drained pasta.
  7. Add in small globs of the ricotta, stirring into the hot pasta together with enough pasta water (judgement call here) to loosen it up and melt into a smooth pink sauce coating the pasta uniformly.
  8. Finish by stirring in the grated cheese and then the fresh basil.
  9. Serve with extra cheese and black pepper.


  1. PASTA CON CREMA DI PEPERONI (Paccheri Cremosi) - Ricetta Facile di Benedetta (fatto in casa da Benedetta).
  2. You start with a basic idea, and embellish depending on what is on hand. This time it was an outstanding success.
  3. Three of the four mini pepperoni were yellow, so did not add to the pale pink color.
  4. Illustrations available.
ricottapastasauce.htm: 21-jun-2020 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]