My Recipe Box

Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Basil & Ricotta Salata

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Serves four.

The vibrant flavors of tomato and basil are the soul of this quick sauce.  A sprinkling of ricotta salata cheese adds a salty pungency.  If you can’t find ricotta salata, try feta cheese instead.

  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Basic Orecchiette 
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and orecchiette and cook until done, about 8 minutes for freshly made or about 20 minutes for dried.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, but keep in mind that the cheese will add more saltiness. (This sauce can be kept at room temperature for several hours and will get more garlicky as it sits.) When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss it with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with the basil and cheese and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 440; Fat (g): fat g 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 13; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 73; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 420; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 10; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

this is my go-to recipe for summer perfection. Let the tomatoes stand for a bit with the garlic, use the best produce you can find, do not skip the seeding of the tomatoes. Dried pasta is fine. I use feta rather than ricotta salata (because it's easier to get), and I use more than is called for (to add the saltiness that some tomatoes crave). My kids call it "taste of summer pasta". DON'T bother to make this if you don't have ripe, fresh tomatoes. Winter tomatoes will not do.

Really disappointing. I made this with tomatoes and basil from my garden, and it was surprisingly bland. I might try it again, letting the sauce sit for a while, to see if that helps, but my husband called it a "waste of a good garden tomato". To be fair, I used dried shell pasta instead of orecchiette, as I didn't have the time to make pasta and couldn't find orecchiette in the supermarket.

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