This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
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.
This pasta with pancetta recipe has been an absolute favourite of mine for a while now and you know what?….
I didn’t even come up with it! My boyfriend, Nathan loves to cook and he is the BEST at making pasta sauces, seriously how lucky am I? He whipped this up one night and I have loved it ever since.
I actually CRAVE this pasta it’s so good. It’s made with good quality ricotta (high-quality ingredients make a huge difference), penne pasta with pancetta, smoked and cubed, dried oregano and tomato passata (pureed tomatoes).
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, with cheese or on sandwiches just to name a few. It’s absolutely delicious and if you can get your hands on good quality prosciutto form a gourmet Italian store then do!
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 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)
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
- Mafalde pasta with butter and parmesan
- Creamy butternut squash pasta
- Bucatini with roasted red pepper cream sauce
- Spaghetti alla puttanesca
Penne Pasta with Ricotta and Tomato sauce
- 1 clove garlic , finely chopped
- 1 cup (100g) smoked pancetta , cubed
- 14.1 oz (400g) penne pasta
- 1/4 cup (50g) ricotta , good quality
- 1 1/4 cups (250g) passata
- 1/3 cup (125ml) reserved pasta water , + 3-4 tbsp if needed
- 1 tbsp oregano dried
- 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine
- 0.7 oz (20g) parmesan plus extra for seasoning
- 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 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.
- The ricotta will look grainy, do not worry.
- Make sure to reserve the strachy pasta water to add to the sauce, do not replace with normal water.
- Substitute sun-dried tomatoes or capers with pancetta.
- 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 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