Spaghetti with Pesto, Tomato, and Ricotta

March 1, 2010

Most of the time our meals are well balanced and full of vegetables and whole grains. It’s very rare that we would have a big bowl of pasta and sauce.

But tonight I was craving pasta. And if you’re going to have pasta, why not top it with homemade pesto sauce, fresh ricotta cheese, and tomatoes?

Please enjoy, Spaghetti with Pesto, Tomato, and Ricotta.

3-4 oz. spaghetti (per person)

2 c. (lightly packed) fresh basil
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
2 cloves roasted garlic (fresh is okay, too), lightly chopped
Up to 1/4 c. olive oil
1 good handful pecorino romano or parmiggianno-reggiano cheese
kosher salt and cracked pepper (to taste)

4 T. fresh ricotta cheese, plus more to garnish
1 small roma tomato, peeled and chopped

  • In a large pot or dutch oven, fill water up to 2/3 up the pot and bring to a boil. Add salt so that the water tastes about as salty as sea water.
  • When water comes to a boil, add pasta and boil uncovered until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, in a small food processor, or with a mortar and pestle (your choice), place basil, pine nuts, and garlic and blend or pound into a rough paste.
  • Add 2 T. olive oil and blend until incorporated.
  • Continue to add olive oil 1 or 2 T. at a time until the pesto is smooth.
  • Add cheese, salt, and pepper and stir — by hand — to combine.
  • When pasta is al dente, reserve 1/4 c. of pasta water and then drain the pasta thoroughly.
  • In a large bowl, add a large spoonful of pesto and a small amount of pasta water. Add pasta all at once and toss to combine.
  • Add tomato and toss. You can also add toasted pine nuts or additional pesto if necessary. Adding more pasta water at this point will help smooth out a clumpy sauce.
  • Garnish the pasta with additional pesto and ricotta. Serve immediately.


  1. I can see this meal being healthier than you give it credit for. Use whole grain pasta, 2 tomatoes instead of one, go heavy on the basil & garlic, light on the cheese…and a salad on the side. I of course would ruin it with a huge serving of garlic bread too though… 🙂

  2. Carbs are the devil! I have a solution. This would be a guest post, but Seth hates on me. Whenever you feel like a late night snack, just cut cracker-sized pieces of a mild cheese and douse them in nice extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked pepper! This takes 3 seconds and you can turn a block of monterey jack cheese into a gourmet Italian appetizer. It’s half past midnight and I am so happy; you can be too.

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