Raw Tomato and Ricotta Rigatoni

Lucas’ Raw Tomato and Ricotta Rigatoni

By Chef Karla Sorrentino

This recipe is named after a dear high school friend whom I made this for years ago. He devoured two helpings, compliments abounded, and I still think of him every time I make it. It’s one of my favorite quick, late summertime recipes that highlights the bounty of beautiful garden tomatoes.

Serves 4


1 lb. rigatoni (or any other shape of pasta you like)

1 cup ricotta, whole milk (cow, sheep or goat), whipped

¼ cup herb pesto (recipe follows)

4-5 large ripe garden tomatoes

¼ c fresh basil, torn or chiffonade

1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably from your own garden – if using fresh, use 2 tsp.)

¼ cup pecorino cheese, grated

4-5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

Controne hot pepper (or crushed red chili flakes), to taste


1 bunch fresh basil

¼ bunch fresh mint

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

¼ cup pecorino cheese, grated


  1. Medium dice the tomatoes and season in a bowl with kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, basil and olive oil. Let this tomato salad macerate at room temperature for up to an hour (10 min is all that is necessary however).
  2. Prepare the pesto (this can be done up to 4 days in advance – keep it in the fridge).  Blanch the basil, parsley and mint in boiling salted water for 5 seconds then plunge the herbs into an ice water bath to shock and reserve the bright green color. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the blanched herbs and process in a food processor with garlic, pecorino, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and drain, reserving some of the cooking water on the side, if needed.  Put the pasta back in the pot and, off the heat, gently fold in the room temperature tomato salad, ricotta and pecorino cheese.  If it seems too thick, add a little of the reserved warm pasta water. The rigatoni should be coated nicely with the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt as necessary.
  4. When you platter the pasta, drizzle some of the pesto over the top, a little extra virgin olive oil and some of the chili pepper to make it as spicy as you like. Serve while still warm.

Karla Sorrentino is the owner and chef at Taste by Karla Sorrentino, a boutique caterer specializing in parties in private residences throughout Fairfield County. Karla can be reached at 203-273-2834 or karlasorrentino@live.com. Visit www.karlasorrentino.com for more information. Follow Karla on Facebook at Taste Bykarlasorrentino and on Twitter at @SorrentinoKarla.

Click here to read Karla’s profile on page 44 of the August issue of Natural Awakenings-Fairfield County.

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