Rigatoni w/ Marinara & Ricotta

It’s been AGES since we’ve had pasta in my household. Why??? Well, there’s  a 3 year old that I live with who doesn’t like pasta. WHAT? Can you imagine that? A kid that doesn’t like pasta? My Italian grandma would consider this sacrilegious.

Since there are two adults in my household that love pasta, I had to make this simple recipe.

Grandma  might be ashamed to know how easy this recipe is. You mean marinara doesn’t have to take 4+ hours to make? The best things in life are just plain simple. Just like this pasta.

And we’re off!

Ingredient gathering, here we GO!

Tomatoes in a can. GO! Chop them up.

Here they are chopped. Save that juice.

Smash some garlic.

Put the smashed garlic in olive oil. Add some red pepper flakes.  Put it on the stove. Heat it up. BAM.

Did I just quote Emeril? Sorry. Take away the garlic. Add the tomatoes.

Cook the pasta.

Marry the pasta with the sauce.

Add the basil. STIR!!!!!!!

Hello, Ricotta! So nice to see you here.

This is how we do it.

I WILL NOT LET my 3 year old son dictate how much pasta we consume! Eat it, COOPER!


Rigatoni w/ Marinara & Ricotta

serves 4

recipe from Gourmet Magazine

  •    1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
  •   2 large garlic cloves, crushed with side of a large heavy knife
  •     Pinch of hot red-pepper flakes
  •     1/4 cup olive oil
  •     1 1/4 tsp salt
  •     4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
  •     1 lb rigatoni
  •     1 cup ricotta
  •     Grated Pecorino Romano

Cook garlic and red-pepper flakes in oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Discard garlic, then add tomatoes with their juice and salt and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and salt to taste.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of well salted boiling water, uncovered, until al dente, then drain in a colander.

Toss pasta with warm marinara sauce in a large bowl. Serve with ricotta and grated Pecorino Romano.


  • IdaBaker

    Simple and perfect. It’s always the best, and I love your step by step photos.

  • Katrina

    Mmm so easy, and tasty looking! Great summer recipe!

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl

    A 3 year old who doesn’t like pasta? Whaaa? That’s just crazy. Most kids… that’s all they’ll eat! Oh well. Glad you treated yourself. This looks absolutely fabuloso!

  • erica

    thats funny i have a son cooper that doesn’t eat pasta either…must be in the name 😉 this looks lovely and simple and a perfect after cooper goes down for the night kind of dinner!

  • Mrs. Zoom

    Looks delish and so easy! I can almost smell that garlic…yum. I’m totally buying ricotta today.

  • Megan

    This looks super tasty. I love the little scoop of ricotta! So lovely and tasty, I bet!

  • Amber

    My sister won’t eat pasta, and she’s 16. I however would eat the heck out of this pasta. With whole wheat noods, because I have gestational diabetes and junk. I hope your Italian grandmother would be alright with it.(=

  • Diana

    This is such an easy little pasta recipe, but it really does look completely delicious. I love the ricotta on the side. Yum.

  • hannah singer

    yum yum. love it!!

  • Lisa | With Style and Grace

    I’m on a HUGE pasta kick – looks like I need to find some gluten-free Rigatoni, asap!

  • wesley @ the way home

    Oh how I love a good basic pasta recipe. Must try.

  • Mel@TheDizzyMom

    Ricotta makes anything fancy and decadent, doesn’t it? I like to stir in lemon zest or fresh herbs to add something special to the ricotta and my 2 year old loves it!

  • Nealey @ Dixie Caviar

    This looks so amazing, and perfect for a hot summer night when simple is a must. If my future children don’t like pasta, I don’t know what I will do with myself!! It’s my lifeline…

  • aida mollenkamp

    My brother (half Italian) also didn’t like pasta when he was little. Luckily, he got over it before my grandmother slapped him silly! This pasta sounds dreamy as I adore anything with ricotta in it!

  • May I Have That Recipe

    This pasta sounds heavenly!! Whats not to like pasta and cheese! Never heard of a kids who doesnt like pasta…a first!

  • Leah

    Yum yum yum! Pasta is my weakness, especially simple pasta recipes. Totally making this! 🙂

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks

    Uhhhh yeah, my mouth just fainted.

  • Bec in Melb

    I’m so confused! I’ve always, ALWAYS known Marinara sauce to be a tomato based seafood sauce (usually with small pieces of fish, prawns, mussels & calamari), but it seems in the US it’s different to here in Australia? You’re dish looks totes awesome, but I was just expecting something different based on the name. I think I need to investigate this further!
    I the meantime, think I’ll be making your pasta sauce, mmm hankering for some ricotta 😉

    • Tracy

      Weird! Cioppino is an Italian stew that has tons of fish in it. Marinara or “gravy” is what we put on pasta.

      • Bec in Melb

        That is weird. Because here, you buy ‘marinara’ mix from the fishmongers and it’s seafood mix that you can use in all sorts of places.
        I would call what you’ve made ‘Napoleatana’ which is usually a tomato-based sauce, often with basil. I usually don’t find that much difference between Australian & US recipes/ names for foods but this one has me stumped!!
        Again, it looks delicious in any case,something I could easily do on a weeknight 🙂

  • Valerie

    Totally swiped this from one of the pics you posted on “My Every Day Life: Week 26”. I may or may not have a serious PASTA addiction so I tried to recreate it before you posted the recipe. Needless to say, I cheated a little. It looked fairly easy to re-create so instead of making my own marinara I used a jar of marinara sauce and shoozed it up a bit with some garlic action! Turned out delicious. Thanks for these simple easy dishes!

  • Tara

    My boyfriend also doesn’t like pasta (so weird), but seeing as I am the cook in our apartment I slip it in once or twice a month. This is definitely going to be coming up this month.

    • Tracy

      My brother in law doesn’t like pasta too! The worst part is that he also doesn’t like bread. How is that POSSIBLE?

  • Jayne

    Oh, how I crave pasta! I can eat this every day.

  • hayley

    he doesn’t like pasta? oh goodness i wish i had that problem! my diets would thank me! this recipe looks amazing though! i will definitely be making this for dinner in the near future

  • jenny

    you know what I love? I mean, aside from all the freaking gorgeous and delicious recipes? YOU ALWAYS MAKE ME LAUGH. You have a foody blog that’s funny, too.

    EAT IT COOPER!!!!!!!!!! I die.

    This looks amazing and we will be having it for dinner TONIGHT! Because we all love pasta and I have a shit ton of basil in the garden that we need to go to work on.

    thanks, BEAN!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kelsey

    “I WILL NOT…” hahahaha! I say this as well. But usually about my dog.

  • Alexis @ There She Goes

    i’m kind of obsessed with these noodles!

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  • Val

    Where’d you find those huge rigatoni? Looks awesome. I adore the idea of serving this with a big scoop of ricotta on the side.

  • heather @ chiknpastry

    so. dang. lovely. I enjoy finding a half box of pasta in the pantry AND some canned tomatoes. that always means a quick meal is on the way!

    ps – i was soooo jealous of your post bikram smoothie the other day. my post bikram day involved crutches, but that’s behind me now and i’ll be back at it again in no time ;).

    • Tracy

      oh no! I went again today and was SOOOOOOO sore. My teacher reminded us that some days are better than others. Hope your next round is better!

  • Cookie and Kate

    Dangggg, this looks good. Pasta is my go-to lazy meal, I’m going to add a big spoonful of ricotta next time!

    • Tracy

      Makes a huge difference!! Plus it cools it down a lil…so you can eat it FAST from the pot. haha

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  • Billy

    How about instead of the Emeril quote you can replace it with the JTBP BOOM/BOOM BOOM POW.

    Also I want that pasta right now.

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  • Heather

    I made this for dinner last night, and it was FANTASTIC! So easy and delicious – everyone went back for seconds. 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe! After looking at this photo again, I wish I had brought the leftovers for lunch today! YUM!!

  • Kelly

    I love this pasta! It tastes so fresh and it’s really easy to make. So easy that I make the homemade ricotta to go with it instead of buying the grainy stuff from the store. I’m making it for the second time right now.

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  • Beth

    I would mix the ricotta in. My dearest friend in life’s mother used to make this and she always mixed the ricotta in. Whats your take on this?

  • Beth

    Total Dam=n, this was so good, OMG, making it forever now. Thanks, and BTW, I mixed int two heaping tablespoons of ricotta. Wow. the BEST.

  • Beth Bilous

    I’m using penne pasta as don’t have rigatoni at the moment

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