Pasta

Pasta With Pancetta, Ricotta and Tomato

January 23, 2018 (Last Updated: May 21, 2020) by Emily

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This Penne Pasta with Ricotta, Pancetta and Tomato Sauce is a current favourite of mine that I just cannot get enough of. It’s super tasty and incredibly easy to make.www.insidetherustickitchen.com

Delicious penne pasta with pancetta, ricotta cheese and a simple yet flavour packed tomato sauce. This pasta recipe is so easy, comforting and can be made in around 15-20 minutes. Serve this in large bowls with toasted garlic bread and salad.

pasta with pancetta on a plate with ricotta and basil

I absolutely love ricotta pasta sauce it’s just so creamy and delicious.

This version is made with pancetta, red wine and tomato and although it’s not as quick as my Ricotta Pasta Sauce: 2 Ways recipe (<< no-cook pasta sauce) it’s still super speedy and just as delicious!

Tip: Reserve at least a cup (250ml) of pasta water for every pasta sauce you make. That way if you ever find yourself a little short on sauce, it’s too thick or it needs an extra oomph of flavour, you can add a little pasta water and trust me you’ll be amazed with the results.

What Can I Substitute Pancetta For?

A great substitute for pancetta would be sun-dried tomatoes or capers. In fact they both would also be a great substitute for prosciutto in my butternut squash lasagna recipe. Sun-dried tomatoes are packed full of an incredible amount of flavour, they are sharp, salty and also sweet, making them a perfect substitute in a lot of pasta sauce and especially cheesy dishes.

What’s The Difference Between Pancetta And Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is a cured Italian ham whereas pancetta is more like bacon but is often found chopped up into cubes or in very thin slices (similar to streaky bacon).

Because prosciutto is cured it’s already ‘cooked’ and can be eaten as it is, on crostini, sandwiches or served with cheese. 

Pancetta is also wonderful and adds so much great flavour to pasta sauces and bakes. If you can buy it in thin slices or strips then it’s especially good for wrapping meats such as chicken, beef and sausages.

How To Make Pasta With Pancetta, Ricotta And Tomato – Step By Step

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne pasta until al dente, according to packet instructions.

Add the pancetta in a large pan and fry for 1-2 minutes until it starts to brown.
 
Tip: There should be enough oil in the pan from the pancetta at this point but if not add 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.
 

Add the garlic and oregano and fry for 30 seconds then add the red wine and reduce for 1 minute (photos 1-3).

step by step photos for making pasta with pancetta, ricotta and tomato

Add the passata and 1/2 cup (125ml) of reserved pasta water. Cook the sauce for 3-4 minutes until it has reduced then turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper (photo 4)

Add the ricotta and parmesan and stir until completely combined with the tomato sauce. Add the drained pasta and toss until completely coated in the sauce. (photos 5-9)

 Tip: If the sauce is too thick for your liking then add around 3-4 tbsp of reserved pasta water to emulsify. This will also add a ton of flavour.
 
I also love to add an extra dollop of ricotta on top with a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper, it makes it extra creamy and extra indulgent.

A close up of pasta with pancetta topped with a dollop of ricotta cheese

If you’ve tried this pasta with pancetta recipe or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, (<<not my fave) INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

More Easy Pasta Recipes To try:

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5 from 3 votes

Penne Pasta with Ricotta and Tomato sauce

This Penne Pasta with Ricotta, Pancetta and Tomato Sauce is a current favourite of mine that I just cannot get enough of. It’s super tasty and incredibly easy to make. Delicious comfort food!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 476kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup smoked pancetta cubed (100g)
  • 14.1 oz penne pasta (400g)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta good quality (50g)
  • 1 1/4 cups crushed strained tomatoes passata (250g)
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water plus 3-4 tbsp if needed (125ml)
  • 1 tbsp oregano dried
  • 1/4 cup red wine (60ml)
  • 0.7 oz parmesan plus extra for seasoning (20g)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper , to season

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the penne pasta according to packet instructions. 
  • Add the pancetta to a large pan and fry for 1-2 minutes until it starts to brown. There should be enough oil in the pan from the pancetta at this point but if not add 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Add the garlic and oregano and fry for 30 seconds then add the red wine and reduce for 1 minute. Add the passata and 1/3 cup (125ml) of reserved pasta water. Cook the sauce for 3-4 minutes until it has reduced then turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the ricotta and parmesan and stir until completely combined with the tomato. Place back on the heat and add roughly 3-4 tbsp of the pasta water. 
  • Add the drained pasta and toss until completely coated in the sauce. Top with an extra dollop of ricotta and sprinkling of pepper if desired.

Notes

  • The ricotta will look grainy, do not worry.
  • Make sure to reserve the starchy pasta water to add to the sauce, do not replace with normal water.
  • You can ubstitute pancetta for sun-dried tomatoes or capers 

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcal
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Calsy
    May 21, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    It’s says to add the Parmesan to the tomatoe sauce but nowhere in the ingredient or instructions does it says anything about tomatoes ?!?

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      May 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Calsy, Passata is crushed strained tomatoes sorry for the confusion this recipe was written before I knew it wasn’t called passata in the US. I’ll amend that now to be clearer.

  • Reply
    Joyce
    January 24, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    This sauce looks absolutely fantastic, so thick and creamy. I love pancetta too so I will find any excuse to use it! Lucky girl to have such a awesome boyfriend to cook for you! haha! I am not as lucky but I shouldn’t complain, he does my tower of dishes everyday haha! 🙂5 stars

  • Reply
    Jessica Levinson
    January 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks for recommending the substitute of sun-dried tomatoes or capers for pancetta as I don’t eat pork. I would definitely enjoy this pasta dish with the sun-dried tomatoes or capers!

  • Reply
    Ginny
    January 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    That looks so much like comfort food and I love that you added the richness of red wine. Just delicious!5 stars

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Meldrum
    January 24, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    You had me at pasta. I always look a comforting pasta dish. It’s always a winner with the family.

  • Reply
    Traci
    January 24, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I daresay I do not use enough pancetta in my cooking…and you are inspiring me to do so. This recipe looks outstanding! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Lorraine
    August 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Another delicious pasta recipe!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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