Penne with ricotta and tomato sauce

Ingredients for 4:

  • 1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta
  • ¼ cup ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds of ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (we use two or three kinds: grape, Roma, etc. mixed)
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ pound penne (350 grams)

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk the ricotta with 2 tablespoons of the ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and set aside at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

In a large nonreactive saucepan, simmer the tomatoes over moderate heat until very soft, about 10 minutes. Pass them through the medium disk of a food mill or use a rubber spatula to push the tomatoes through a coarse strainer. (Note: we smash them with a potato masher instead)

Wipe out the saucepan (or use another) and heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, then the garlic, and cook over low heat until softened but no browned, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon of the basil and simmer over moderately low heat until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. (The sauce can be made to this point and refrigerated up to 3 days. Reheat before proceeding). Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and add it to the sauce, coating well. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, topped with a dollop of the ricotta and a sprinkling of the remaining basil.

(Note: we like to mix the ricotta mixture into the tomato mixture, reserving just a bit to put on top with a basil leaf stuck in it)