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.
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 garlic and oregano and fry for 30 seconds then add the red wine and reduce for 1 minute (photos 1-3).
Add the passata and ½ 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)
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:
- Sun dried tomato pasta with roasted red pepper
- Ricotta Pasta Sauce: 2 Ways
- Mafalde pasta with butter and parmesan
- Creamy butternut squash pasta
- Bucatini with roasted red pepper cream sauce
- Spaghetti alla puttanesca
📖 Full Recipe
Penne Pasta with Ricotta and Tomato sauce
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup smoked pancetta cubed (100g)
- 14.1 oz penne pasta (400g)
- ¼ cup ricotta good quality (50g)
- 1 ¼ cups crushed strained tomatoes passata (250g)
- ⅓ cup reserved pasta water plus 3-4 tablespoon if needed (125ml)
- 1 tablespoon oregano dried
- ¼ cup red wine (60ml)
- 0.7 oz parmesan plus extra for seasoning (20g)
- 1 pinch salt and pepper , to season
- 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 ½ tablespoon 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 ⅓ 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 tablespoon 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.
- 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
- 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 Cirio or Mutti brands 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.
- Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples.
- You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking.