Rating: 3.5 stars
14 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2

A simple marriage of ricotta cheese, egg, and a secret ingredient make for a sauce that's even creamier than those that use heavy cream, which can be a bit too rich and filling. I mean, come on, I'm trying to save room for the tiramisu. Ricotta gives this sauce a cheesy tanginess that we don't get with heavy cream. I love to top this pasta with lots of ricotta salata, a great summer cheese.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
20 mins
30 mins
4 small portions


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Pasta:
For the Sauce Base:


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook orecchiette according to package directions, reducing time by 1 minute, about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, egg, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Mix until a paste forms. Add 1/3 cup hot pasta water and whisk well. Repeat with another 1/3 cup pasta water.

  • Transfer pasta to a saucepan using a strainer, letting most, but not all, the water drain off. Reserve cooking water. Add the sauce mixture and turn heat to medium. Cook and stir until sauce thickens enough to coat the pasta evenly, about 2 minutes. Add more pasta water if sauce gets too thick. Stir in pesto. Taste and season as desired. Transfer pasta to a warm bowl.

Chef's Notes:

Use any shape of pasta you desire.

I added some pesto to mine this time, but that could have been some sun-dried tomato paste, or roasted chiles, or caramelized mushroom, or diced-up, leftover grilled veggies, or…you get the idea.

Nutrition Facts

297 calories; protein 11.4g; carbohydrates 42.4g; fat 9.4g; cholesterol 51.5mg; sodium 616.7mg. Full Nutrition