Pasta with roasted vegetable tomato sauce and homemade ricotta

By Mary Berg
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Pasta with roasted vegetable tomato sauce and homemade ricotta

A fantastic pasta that makes for an impressive date night meal - especially since you'll  be making your own ricotta (it's easy, we promise!).

SERVES
2
 TO
3
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 green zucchini, halved and sliced into 1 centimetre half-rounds
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ small bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite sided pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cups canned crushed or strained tomatoes
  • 200–250g dry spaghetti or spaghettini
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Start by whipping up a batch of homemade ricotta by lining a fine mesh sieve with three or four layers of cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl. In a large saucepan, slowly bring the milk, cream, and salt to 200 degrees Fahrenheit over medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid burning or boil over.
  2. When the mixture reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat, add the lemon juice, and stir to combine.  Allow this to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.  The curds and whey should be well separated at this point.  If not, just let the mixture sit for another five minutes or so.
  3. Gently pour the curds and whey through your prepared cheesecloth lined sieve and allow the ricotta to drain for 20­–45 minutes or until your cheese is at the desired consistency.
  4. While your ricotta is draining, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss your zucchini, bell pepper, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar onto a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until tender and caramelized, around 25–30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.  Remove the vegetables from the oven and immediately stir in the minced garlic and allow it to sit on the hot pan with the vegetables for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place a large pot of salted water to boil and heat the crushed or strained tomatoes in a saucepan until simmering.  When simmering, add in the roasted vegetables and finely chopped basil and parsley and season with some salt and pepper.  When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Reserve about half a cup of the cooking water to loosen up your sauce if you fancy and strain your pasta. 
  6. To plate, dole out the noodles onto two separate plates, drape with some of that lovely roasted vegetable tomato sauce, and toss a dollop of fresh ricotta on top followed by a scattering of Parm if you’d like!

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