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Uncooked ease: Warm pasta blends a sauce of tomato, herbs and ricotta

Pasta with Ricotta, Tomatoes and Herbs

1 review
Appears in May-June 2022

45 minutes

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Pasta with Ricotta, Tomatoes and Herbs

A family owned restaurant that opened in 1936, Felice a Testaccio in Rome is known for serving up traditional fare, including tonnarelli cacio e pepe. But it was the spaghetti alla Felice that caught our attention during a recent visit. Piping-hot, just-drained al dente pasta was tossed with grape tomatoes, olive oil, a mixture of fresh herbs and ricotta cheese. The dish was creamy but not at all heavy, and the bright, fresh flavors and textures were simple and elegant. Adapting the recipe, we learned that good-quality whole-milk ricotta is key. Look for a brand made without gums or stabilizers; it will taste purer and sweeter and have a superior texture. As for the herbs, use a mix of a few types listed in the recipe to achieve a wide spectrum of flavors, from anise sweetness to menthol freshness, hints of citrus to earthy, woodsy notes. If you choose to add marjoram and/or oregano, do so sparingly, as they are very assertive herbs.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t use more than 7 cups of water to boil the pasta. It’s a scant amount, but intentionally so. The pasta cooking water is added to the sauce and noodles as they’re tossed; its starchiness loosens the sauce and helps it cling to the linguine.

45 minutes

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