Entries tagged with “ricotta”.

This baked pasta recipe from Bon Appetit is perfect comfort food on a chilly fall night. You will need a few hours to prepare this dish, but you can make it ahead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Unico canned tomatoes. Check the ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella to ensure they do not contain colour.

Make marinara sauce

Cook pasta shells

Pipe ricotta mixture into shells and layer over sauce

Top with more sauce and with mozzarella

Bake and then brown under the broiler

Stuffed shells with marinara sauce


Classic marinara sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 sprigs basil

2 28-ounce cans (796 ml) whole peeled tomatoes

Stuffed shells

12 ounces (340 g) jumbo pasta shells

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

2 cups (500 ml) whole-milk fresh ricotta

3 ounces (85 g) Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving

¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped parsley

8 ounces (226 g) low-moisture mozzarella, coarsely grated, divided

3 cups (750 ml) Classic marinara sauce, divided


Classic marinara sauce

Heat oil in a medium heavy pot over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 5 minutes; stir in basil. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go; season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat; simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Stuffed shells

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Cook shells in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente; drain. Run under cold water to stop the cooking and drain again.

Lightly whisk egg yolks and egg in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, and 1½ cups (375 ml) mozzarella; season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to a large re-sealable plastic bag.

Spread 1½ cups (375 ml) marinara sauce in a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) baking dish. Snip off 1 end of plastic bag and, working one at a time, squeeze filling into shells, arranging them in a single layer in baking dish as you go. Top with remaining 1½ cups (375 ml) marinara sauce and remaining mozzarella. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake shells until sauce is bubbling throughout, 35–40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes.

Carefully move rack to top of oven and heat broiler. Uncover pasta and broil until lightly browned on top, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with oregano and more Parmesan and drizzle with oil. Serves 8.

Do Ahead: Pasta can be baked 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat, covered, at 375° (190° C).

From Bon Appetit

When I saw this recipe in the July 2016 issue of Bon Appetit, I knew I had to make it. Aside from containing so many of my favourite ingredients — roasted red peppers, basil, olives, cheese —it looks absolutely gorgeous. And you can even make it ahead! Bake red pepper halves with anchovies, garlic and basil and then top with a delicious basil oil, cherry tomatoes, cheese and olives. The recipe calls for ricotta but you can use bocconcini or buffalo mozzarella.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the anchovies and cheese have no preservatives added. I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives, which are additive-free.

Top halved peppers with anchovies, garlic and basil

Roast until tender and slightly charred on the edges

Top with cherry tomatoes, olives, cheese, basil oil and serve


4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed

6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 cup (250 ml) basil leaves, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus ⅓ cup (75 ml) olive oil

1 pint (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

⅓ cup (75 ml) fresh ricotta

¼ cup (60 ml) pitted small black and/or green olives

Flaky sea salt


Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Place bell peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish and top with anchovies and garlic. Tear ¼ cup (60 ml) basil leaves over top, season with kosher salt and black pepper, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) oil. Bake until peppers are tender but still hold their shape and are slightly charred around edges, 35–45 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

Meanwhile, blend remaining ¾ cup (175 ml) basil and remaining ⅓ cup (75 ml) oil in a blender until smooth; season basil oil with kosher salt and black pepper.

Arrange bell peppers on a platter. Top with tomatoes, ricotta, olives, and more basil, then drizzle with basil oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Serves 8.

From the July 2016 issue of Bon Appetit

I love ravioli, but it is very hard to find ravioli that is paper thin and tender, instead of thick and chewy. So I thought I’d try to make it myself, using this recipe from Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book. I made this recipe in three stages: First, I made the filling, at about 10 a.m., because it takes four hours for the ricotta to drain. I finished the filling about 2 p.m. and refrigerated it. Then I made the sauce about 4 p.m. and refrigerated it. I put the eggs out to warm to room temperature around the same time. Finally, at around 5:30 p.m., I started the dough, using a food processor and then pasta making attachment for my stand mixer. Dinner was ready about two hours later, but it was well worth the time and effort!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano do not contain colour or preservatives.

Drain the ricotta for four hours

Lightly smash the garlic and saute in oil

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

I made the dough in a food processor

Knead the dough for 10 minutes

With a pasta machine, roll out the dough into long, thin sheets

Place the filling at regular intervals on one side of each sheet

Brush around filling with water, fold over, push out any air and seal the ravioli, when cut into squares

Boil for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a warm serving dish

Top with tomato sauce and cheese


2 cups (500 g) ricotta cheese

¾ cup (90 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus extra for serving)

2 large egg yolks

¼ to ½ tsp (1 to 2.5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

To make the filling, place the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours to drain off as much excess moisture as possible. Discard the liquid and transfer the ricotta to a bowl. Add the grated cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg to taste, ¼ tsp (1 ml) sea salt, and pinch of pepper and mix until well blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Simple tomato sauce

2.5 lbs (1.25 kg) fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or 1 28 oz. (875 g) can plum tomatoes.

1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, chopped (chop just before using)

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, place in a colander in the sink and let drain for 5 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, pressing wit the back of a wooden spoon to release its juices, until it takes on a rich golden colour but has not yet turned brown, 1-2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and immediately add the tomatoes, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt, and season to taste with pepper.

Using a fork or potato masher, press down on the tomatoes to break them up until they are in fairly small pieces. Raise the heat to high and bring to tomatoes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes form a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and use right away, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Makes 4 cups.

Pasta dough

3 cups unbleached all-purpose four, plus more as needed

½ tsp. fine sea salt

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 tbsp. olive oil

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but ½ cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved ½ cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1.25 lb. dough.

Roll out the pasta with a machine, to the thinnest setting. Lay the sheets out flat on a floured surface

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold lengthwise to make the centre, then unfold so it is flat again. Beginning about 2 inches (5 cm) from one of the short ends, place small spoonfuls of the filling at 2-inch (5-cm) intervals down the centre of one side of the fold. Dip a pastry brush in cool water and lightly brush around the filling; this acts as a glue that keeps the filling tightly sealed inside the pasta. Fold the dough over the filling. Using your fingers, mold the dough around the filling to eliminate any air pockets. Press the edges of the dough firmly together to seal. Using a fluted or straight pasta cutter or a chef’s knife, trim off about 1/8 inch (3 mm) from all sides of the pasta strip. Cut evenly between the mounds to make 2 to 2.5-inch (5- to 6-cm) square ravioli. Place the ravioli in a single layer on a floured rimmed backing sheet. Turn every few minutes to prevent ravioli from sticking. Do not let them sit too long or the filling will seep through the dough.

In a large pot, bring 5 quarts (5 litres) of water to a rapid boil.

Rewarm the tomato sauce, stirring in the basil as the last ingredient.

Add salt to the boiling water and gently drop in half of the ravioli, then cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, uncover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed to prevent the ravioli from knocking against one another and breaking. The total cooking time should be 3-5 minutes. Test a ravioli for doneness, then lift our with a large slotted spoon, allowing a little water to cling to them so they remain moist, and transfer to a large, warmed, shallow serving bowl; cover the bowl with foil to keep ravioli warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli. Spoon the tomato sauce over the ravioli and sprinkle with a little cheese. Serve right away. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serves 4.

From Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce

This delicious baked pasta from the April 2014 issue of Food and Wine features a sauce made of roasted tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil. The roasted tomatoes are added to sautéed onion, crispy pancetta and olives. Meanwhile, roast some broccoli. Cook the rigatoni and stir into the sauce, along with the broccoli, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and more fresh basil. This would be a great dish for Sunday brunch or a weeknight supper.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter with only a single ingredient: cream. I used nitrite-free bacon instead of pancetta and President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives, which are all-natural. Check the labels on the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano to make sure they don’t contain colour or artificial ingredients.

Place fresh herbs on tomatoes prior to roasting

Roast the broccoli

The roasted tomatoes form the basis of the sauce

Combine sauce, broccoli and ricotta

Place in baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano

Baked rigatoni with broccoli, green olives and pancetta


2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

1 ½ pounds (680 g) plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 thyme sprigs

½ cup (125 ml) torn basil leaves, plus 1 basil sprig

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds (680 g) broccoli, cut into small florets and stems reserved for another use

One 4-ounce (113 g) slice of pancetta, finely diced

1 large onion, very finely chopped

1 cup (250 ml) pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, halved

1 pound (454 g) rigatoni

2 cups (500 ml) fresh ricotta cheese

¾ cup (175 ml) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 425° F (232° C) and butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) ceramic or glass baking dish. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil sprigs with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and browned in spots; let cool. Discard the thyme and basil sprigs and coarsely chop the tomatoes and garlic, reserving any juices.

Meanwhile, on another rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, tomatoes and garlic and the 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of butter; keep warm.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain, reserving 1¼ (300 ml) cups of the cooking water. Stir the pasta into the skillet along with the reserved cooking water, broccoli, ricotta, torn basil and ½ (125 ml) cup of the Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) of Parmigiano on top and bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

From the April 2014 issue of Food and Wine