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Pasta with Ricotta, Tomatoes and Herbs

4 Servings

45 minutes

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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.




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


  • 2

    pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • ¼

    teaspoon white sugar


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August 15, 2022
Lovely, simple and delicious
Big plus for me... NO GARLIC!! Love this. Americanized Italian dishes are over-garlicked; in most of Italy garlic is used sparingly. Excellent recipe. Thank you!
Angela M.
August 14, 2022
So good and tasty
I made this recipe for for a dinner party right after I saw it in the May June issue of Milk Street Magazine. It was a huge hit. I have made it several times since and just love the ease and the wonder flavors.
Kali Z.
August 8, 2022
I used fresh purple basil from my garden and it was absolutely delicious. I will be making this again.
James N.
June 24, 2022
Used fresh herbs from my garden. Rosemary, thyme, lemon basil, sweet basil and oregano. Didn't need any other dishes, it makes a meal (actually 2 for 2 people).
Marianne E.
September 9, 2022
I thought this was ordinary. I probably won't make it again.