Combine garlic confit with crumbled savory sausage, whipped lemon ricotta, and rosemary breadcrumbs to create a delicious bowl of pasta! This creamy garlic and sausage ricotta pasta is savory and rich, and bursting with deliciousness in every bite.
Creamy Garlic and Sausage Ricotta Pasta
- 1 head garlic cloves separated and peeled
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 chili de arbol
- ½ cup olive oil
- 8 ounces ricotta
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic confit oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup panko
Garlic and sausage ricotta pasta
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons garlic confit oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 12 ounces Italian sausage casings removed
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- garlic confit
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups reserved pasta water
- 1 cup grated parmesan plus extra for serving
- Make garlic confit. Combine garlic cloves with thyme, bay leaf, chili de arbol, and olive oil in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and reduce to low. Continue to simmer until garlic cloves are softened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain oil, discarding thyme, bay leaf, and chili de arbol. Reserve oil. Mash garlic cloves with a fork until they become a paste and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare whipped ricotta. In a food processor, puree ricotta with lemon zest, and black pepper until smooth. Set aside.
- Make rosemary breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved garlic confit oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add rosemary and heat for 10 seconds. Add panko, stirring to combine. Continue to heat until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and transfer breadcrumbs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cool.
- Cook pasta according to directions on package. Reserve 1 ½ cups pasta water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat another 2 tablespoons reserved garlic confit oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sausage and cook until sausage is browned, breaking it up into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon. Add tomato paste, stirring to combine. Continue to saute for 2 minutes or until tomato paste is caramelized.
- Add reserved mashed garlic confit and white wine and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until almost all of the wine has evaporated.
- Add cooked pasta along with 1 cup reserved pasta water and 1 cup grated parmesan. Stir to combine and simmer for 2 minutes or until pasta is well coated in the sauce. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add extra pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Portion pasta into bowls and top with dollops of whipped ricotta. Drizzle extra garlic confit oil on top and sprinkle a generous amount of rosemary breadcrumbs on top as well as extra grated parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
Watch how to make this:
Isn't it amazing how many different ways you can dress up pasta? It's one of my favorite comfort dishes because I never get tired of it. With the endless possibilities of sauces, meats, and vegetables you can pair together, it's almost hard to get tired of it. Although I do have my favorites, I enjoy venturing out and creating something new. Today's pasta is just that, me stepping out of the usual recipes and putting together a new dish that I can add to the rotation.
This creamy garlic and sausage ricotta pasta started with the idea of incorporating garlic confit into the sauce. Throw in Italian crumbled sausage, rich tomato paste, a splash of white wine, whipped lemon ricotta, and rosemary breadcrumbs, and suddenly you have restaurant-worthy pasta. Hopefully, you'll enjoy this new yet still familiar dish as much as I did!
- Garlic: A pungent and aromatic bulb that becomes sweeter as it cooks in the confit.
- Chili de arbol: A small and potent dried chili pepper known for its heat. You can omit it if you prefer.
- Italian sausage: A seasoned and often spiced pork sausage that contributes much of the flavor to the pasta sauce. You can also use seasoned chicken sausage or soy-rizo for a vegetarian option.
- Tomato paste: A concentrated form of tomatoes, tomato paste is used to add depth of flavor and thickness to the sauce.
- White wine: Used in cooking to add depth to the sauce. If you're not a fan of white wine, you can use chicken broth instead.
- Penne pasta: The short pasta shape is ideal for this dish because the ridges soak in the sauce. You can also use rigatoni, ziti, or any other similar-sized pasta.
- Parmesan: A hard, aged cheese with a rich and savory flavor, used to enhance the overall flavor.
- Ricotta: A fresh Italian soft cheese made from whey that has a mild flavor. You can substitute it with mascarpone if desired.
- Panko: A type of breadcrumb that is lighter and flakier than traditional breadcrumbs, giving a lovely crunchy texture to the dish. If you have fresh breadcrumbs, even better!
How to Make Creamy Garlic and Sausage Ricotta Pasta
Step 1: Make garlic confit
The foundation of the creamy garlic and sausage ricotta pasta is a garlic confit. Fresh garlic cloves are simmered with thyme, bay leaf, and chili de arbol in olive oil, resulting in a garlic paste that adds depth to the dish.
While you are simmering the garlic, make sure the heat is on low. You want the garlic to slowly break down while infusing the oil.
Once the garlic is softened, discard the aromatics and set aside the oil. We're going to use the infused oil to cook the sauce. Mash up the garlic cloves and set it aside.
Step 2: Prepare toppings
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. These toppings are crucial to the dish because they add the finishing touches.
To make the whipped ricotta, puree the soft cheese with lemon zest, and black pepper until smooth. You can use a food processor or blender or use the sheer strength of your arms and a whisk.
Set aside the whipped ricotta and prepare the rosemary breadcrumbs. Use that delicious garlic confit oil to season the panko and rosemary, heating the ingredients until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Feel free to make these toppings as well as the garlic confit the day before.
Step 3: Cook the sauce
For the pasta itself, cook penne according to the package instructions, reserving 1 ½ cups of pasta water. If the pasta ends up cooking before the sauce is done, drain it and rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss the pasta in a tablespoon of olive oil and set it aside.
In a generous sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of garlic confit oil and cook minced shallots and Italian sausage until the sausage browns. Incorporate tomato paste and sauté until caramelized, about 2 minutes.
Next, add the reserved mashed garlic confit and white wine, boiling until most of the wine evaporates.
Step 4: Putting it all together
Bringing it all together, add the cooked pasta to the sauté pan, combining it with 1 cup of reserved pasta water and 1 cup of grated parmesan. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Adjust the consistency with extra pasta water if necessary, seasoning the dish with salt and pepper to taste.
Since the sausage is salty, I like to wait until after the pasta is finished before adjusting the seasoning.
To serve, portion the pasta into bowls, topping it with dollops of the prepared whipped ricotta. Drizzle extra garlic confit oil over the dish and sprinkle the rosemary breadcrumbs along with additional grated parmesan if desired.
Now give everything a stir and let that ricotta transform the pasta into a creamy bowl of goodness. I gotta say when I wrote down this creamy garlic and sausage ricotta pasta recipe, I had a feeling that it was going to be a hit. Fortunately, it was. From the crumbled sausage to the creamy lemon ricotta to the herby breadcrumbs, all the elements come together to create one harmonious dish. This is definitely going to go on the regular rotation!
Can I use a different type of sausage in the pasta?
Absolutely! While Italian sausage is suggested, you can experiment with other sausage varieties, like spicy sausage or chicken sausage, depending on your taste.
Is there a specific reason for reducing the white wine in the sauce?
Yes, reducing the white wine cooks out the alcohol while also concentrating the sauce for a richer taste.
Do I need to use reserved pasta water in the sauce?
Yes, the reserved pasta water is essential. It contains starch that helps bind the sauce to the pasta, creating a creamier texture.
Can I freeze any leftovers of this pasta?
While pasta dishes are best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze leftovers. However, the texture of the pasta may change slightly upon reheating.
For more pasta inspiration, check out this caramelized leek and mushroom gruyere pasta!