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Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto

4 Servings

40 minutes

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This ricotta-based pesto gets its pale green hue from an abundance of parsley. Its deep flavor comes from sage that has been gently cooked in olive oil. We employed the microwave to make the sage–oil infusion because it does the job quickly. But take care not to overheat the mixture or both the sage and the oil will become bitter. The ideal pasta for this dish is a short, tubular shape with ridges that catch the pesto; we liked rigatoni and penne rigate.




Don’t cook the pasta before preparing the pesto, as the pasta must be hot when tossed with the sauce. Also, don't forget to reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining the pasta; you'll need to add at least some of it to the pasta and pesto as you toss them together.

40 minutes



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Michael G.

kind of confused by the very similar recipe on here, whats point of both:

Lynn C.

Hi Michael -

The recipe you linked to is a version of this recipe that we developed for our Cookish book. The recipes in that book are limited to 6 ingredients and can be made in minutes. The recipe above is a bit more involved and includes some additional ingredients for more complex flavor. Feel free to try the simpler version and, if you like the flavor, stick with the simpler one!

The Milk Street Team

Matt F.

Any recommendations on how to best make the sage oil for someone without a microwave? Like many city dwellers, we don't have a microwave in our apartment, so it would be a HUGE help if you could provide non-microwave instructions in your recipes. Thanks!

Lynn C.

Hi Matt -

You can make the sage oil on the stovetop in a small sauce. Combine the oil and sage and heat over low heat until the oil is hot and the sage is fragrant. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too hot and boil or sizzle.

The Milk Street Team

Thomas M.

This was really tasty and easy to make. Sage is something different than the normal basil in pesto and I liked the mild flavor from it. I had pine nuts on hand and used them after toasting them. I typically add some sort of vegetable to my pasta dishes. In this case I sauteed some mushrooms and added them at the end with the pesto.

Don H.

Will the pesto keep if you make it a few days in advance and refrigerate?

Lynn C.

Hi Don -

We would probably only recommend mixing everything *but* the ricotta together in advance. Ricotta is watery and may water down the pesto too much.

The Milk Street Team