I don't know about you but once summer comes around, I buy loads of tomatoes every time I go to the market. They're such a versatile fruit, delicious either raw or cooked. When I'm not snacking on fresh tomatoes, I'm usually turning them into confit (like for this tomato confit pasta salad) or into a sauce. Quickly simmer the tomatoes and toss them with spicy sausage, penne, and creamy ricotta for an amazing dinner. This sausage bolognese pasta with ricotta might just be my favorite new summer pasta.
Sausage Bolognese Pasta with Ricotta
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 shallots diced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 12 ounces spicy Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- ¼ cup red wine
- 12 ounces penne pasta or another short grain pasta
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup grated parmesan plus additional for serving
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- Beat together the ricotta with olive oil and black pepper until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large sautepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage into small bite-size pieces.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes, oregano, and red wine and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until the tomatoes are softened, about 3-4 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Add the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and ½ cup grated parmesan to the sausage bolognese, tossing to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to coat the pasta in the sauce, and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the fresh basil. Portion the pasta into 4 bowls and place dollops of the ricotta on top. Sprinkle extra grated parmesan and serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Bolognese usually takes hours to make. This sausage bolognese pasta with ricotta is a much quicker version but still delivers on flavor.
To make the bolognese, you need a few key ingredients including fresh cherry tomatoes, Italian sausage, red wine, and ricotta. Sure, you can swap out the fresh tomatoes for canned but the end results won't exactly be the same. You won't get those bursts of juicy tomatoes with canned and you'll need to cook it longer to really incorporate the flavors.
Heat oil in a large saute pan and saute the shallots and garlic until softened. Then, add the sausage with the casings removed and cook until browned. Use your spatula to break up the sausage into smaller pieces while it's cooking.
I used spicy Italian sausage but you can also use mild. I do recommend using Italian sausage because it's seasoned with flavors that compliment the pasta.
Once the sausage is browned, add the remaining ingredients including the tomatoes, oregano, and red wine. Unfortunately, you can't substitute the wine in this recipe. The red wine adds depth to the bolognese that another liquid won't offer. Don't worry, the alcohol will cook out and all you'll be left with is the beautiful grape notes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta until al dente. I chose penne pasta because the short shapes and ridges soak up all of the flavors.
Immediately add the cooked pasta along with the reserved pasta water and parmesan to the sauce and simmer for another 2 minutes. Season the pasta with plenty of black pepper and portion it into bowls.
Finish the sausage bolognese pasta with ricotta and fresh basil. When you're ready to eat, stir everything together, allowing the ricotta to melt into the pasta.
Although this bolognese comes together in a fraction of the time, it still tastes amazing. The ricotta adds creaminess to the dish while the spicy salty sausage and sweet tomatoes balance it perfectly. All in all, a great weeknight dinner!
For more summer pasta inspiration, check out this homemade papperdelle with corn pesto!