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Rigatoni Carbonara with Ricotta

4 Servings

35 minutes

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For this one-pot meal inspired by Zuni Cafe’s Judy Rodgers, we cook pasta in a minimal amount of water, concentrating the starch in it to help thicken the sauce. Avoid pre-grated Parmesan; it typically is too coarse and won’t blend well with the sauce. Look for a good-quality ricotta cheese without stabilizers.




Don’t stop stirring the pasta as the ricotta mixture is added; this prevents it from clumping.

35 minutes


  • 1

    cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 2

    ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus extra to serve


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Patricia E.
September 28, 2022
To make this a 5-star recipe
I haven't even made this yet, but as a chef, here's my recommendations: 1) Cook the rigatoni separately, reserving the pasta water. 2) Follow the directions as written, omitting the part where the raw pasta and water are added. Instead add the cooked pasta, the ricotta mixture, and enough pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. 3) Garnish with chopped Italian parsley. Note: Try subbing pancetta or prosciutto for the bacon, and creminis or portobellos for the peas. Can also add fresh or dried Italian herbs to taste, to the sauce.
Celeste F.
September 22, 2022
I read the reviews before I made this dish and decided to use about 1/2 cup less water. I did not add water to the ricotta mixture and I used a bit less water for cooking the pasta, but I monitored the pasta as it cooked and ended up having to add a little bit of water towards the end of cooking. When you add the ricotta mixture at the end, you can add water if needed. I also added lemon juice to taste, and that gave it a boost.
Catherine C.
October 4, 2022
Husband loved it
A great weeknight supper, easy to get hold of ingredients. I used whole foods thick cut bacon, it was delicious. Next time I’ll add a little bit more water, because I added too much pasta but I think the sauce was very rich so it should be ok, I may add more cheese if it needs thickening.
Annie W.

This was good! My husband thought it had a lot of flavor.

Jon T.

I've made this several times. At the end of step 2, there is always a fair amount of water left over. So when the ricotta mix is added, the sauce comes out watery.

I would suggest to reduce the water amount to 3 1/4 cups in step 2.

Jarrod C.

3 cups wasn't even enough for me. It is also possible that I added too much rigatoni.

Michael L.

This turned out very salty for me. Measured exactly as per the recipe. Great dish otherwise but need to figure out why it was so over-salted (I use Diamond Crystal kosher). The water that I have left over seems right and is very thickened with pasta starch as it likely should be. My pasta was durum semolina.

Scott P.

This was not the best carbonara dish I've had or made. Perhaps I'd've preferred one with certain ingredients I've seen in other carbonara recipes: butter, heavy cream, a touch of flour. It was good to try this one though. And there is too much water in the sauce.