Pasta, Pizza, Risotto

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

Nicoletta December 1, 2016

Jump To Recipe

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit, the creamiest of pasta without the use of any cream, just ricotta blended with saffron and pasta cooking water. With some delightful cherry tomatoes confit on top, you’ll have your taste buds dancing!

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

I use ricotta a lot, I’ve just noticed that. Maybe you’ve noticed it, too. In sweet or savory dishes it is an ingredient I’m not shy to use. It is so embedded in my culture, in my memories,  it is so versatile and gives so much flavor and texture to most of my dishes, that I cannot help it.

 

 

You might have also noticed that when I am not baking, I am cooking pasta. That’s right, pasta is -mostly- my domain. I love it, I’ve been making it forever, I know how to treat it and give it justice. Loreto is the savory cook,  with his amazing fusion creations and I cannot but take a step back. But when it’s pasta time or sharing traditional Italian dishes, I get fueled by my passion, my Italian pride, I put my apron on, and savory dishes here I come.

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit, and how we came up with the recipe.

These kind of pasta recipes are in our chords, so simple yet so flavorful. We already had a recipe, here, made with tagliatelle, ricotta and cherry tomatoes, but the addition of the saffron was something we had not thought about. We were in Rome, having lunch with my friend Paola in the area of Via Veneto, where she works and I worked, and the café we were in, had among the dishes of the day a platter of beautiful, creamy, penne with ricotta, saffron and cherry tomatoes confit. Right away we mentally bookmarked the recipe to make it when we were back home. And here we are to share it with you.

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

If you’re not familiar with cherry tomatoes (pomodorini) confit, I invite you to try making them as soon as you can. Once you’ve tasted them, you’ll be hooked. Easy to make: halved, dressed with a generous amount of e.v.o. oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and herbs, they bake in the oven, at low temperature, till they are wrinkled, juicy, sweet, candied morsels. They are the perfect topping for pasta, or bruschetta. In this dish, blended with the ricotta saffron sauce, it makes every forkful a delightful experience.

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit, is also a pasta dish that will show you that you don’t need to drench your pasta in heavy cream to make it creamy. When you melt the saffron in pasta cooking water, then blend it with the ricotta, the result is a luscious, velvety, cream sauce that will coat your pasta beautifully. In half the amount of calories. My only suggestion, as with all creamy sauces, is to eat pasta hot and right away. At the end of the shooting session, my pasta was looking a bit dry, that’s where the saved pasta water comes in handy. Add it and stir, and the pasta will become creamy again.

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

The flavors of this pasta, amazing. This Penne Ricotta, Saffron, and Cherry Tomato confit is the epitome of class and luxuriousness. The penne beautifully coated with the blend of creamy ricotta and pasta water, and still maintaining that toothiness that we love. The saffron giving color to this dish along with that unmistakable posh flavor. Then the cherry tomatoes confit with their juices caramelized to a sweetness and acidity, then the mix of herbs, add another depth of taste and texture to an already decadent ensemble.

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

Wow, December 1st already, we have to pull up our bootstraps and get cracking on some festive Christmas recipes. Stay tuned, we have some gems for you.

Song of the day: “Don’t wanna know”, Maroon 5.

Print
Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit, the creamiest of pasta without the use of any cream, just ricotta blended with saffron and pasta cooking water. With some delightful cherry tomatoes confit on top, you’ll have your taste buds dancing!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 1 package saffron powder
  • 340 g pasta
  • 1 Tbsp pasta water (plus more for tossing)
  • e.v.o. oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • herbs
  • basil, fresh or dried (for topping)
  • 250 g (your choice of pasta), cooked according to instructions on the package

Instructions

  1. Wash, halve the cherry tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dress them with salt, pepper, herbs, a pinch of sugar, and a generous dose of e.v.o. oil.
  2. Bake them in the oven, at 300° F, for about an hour, or until they are wrinkled and reduced half in size. Set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water on boil, then add the pasta and stir.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, melt the saffron powder in 1 Tbsp of pasta water. Add to the ricotta and stir until creamy and well incorporated.
  5. At the recommended pasta cooking time, drain the pasta but save some of the pasta water.
  6. Add the pasta to the ricotta saffron mixture, stir and eventually add more pasta water till desired creaminess.
  7. Place cherry tomatoes confit on top. Sprinkle with fresh or dried basil.
  8. Serve hot.

Notes

Not all pasta dishes in the Italian tradition require the final addition of Parmigiano on top. This is one of them. You can add it, of course.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 servings

 Penne Ricotta, Saffron and Cherry tomatoes confit

Disclosure: All links in our post are NOT affiliate links. They are only about products or places we normally purchase and like. 

You Might Also Like

16 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Stephanie@ApplesforCJ December 1, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I love cherry tomatoes and ricotta so this recipe sounds Amazing…And Wow I can’t believe it’s already December..Guess I better get moving on this Holiday stuff as well 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Thank so much Stephanie! Such great flavors in this pasta dish, you’re going to love it! Better hurry up for us, too,Christmas will be here in no time 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply annie@ciaochowbambina December 2, 2016 at 7:35 am

    My husband and I would love this! He, for the ricotta, I, for the tomatoes confit, both of us for all of it! This is our kind of cooking! I can imagine the sweet flavor of the tomatoes playing off the creaminess of the ricotta saffron mixture… Delicioso!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Thank you Annie! It is such a simple pasta but so full of flavors!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa December 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

    This dish brings back memories….my mother-in-law would often mix in ricotta with her pasta dishes! I know my husband would really love this, it looks beautiful and ever so delicious! Can’t wait to try it😊

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 9:32 am

      I know, Marisa, I learned to use ricotta from my mom, she absolutely loves it! She mixes it in her pasta sauce, in the lasagna I am going to post soon, spread it on bread, adds it in cakes. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree 😉 . Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Justine @ JustineCelina.com December 2, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I haven’t cherry tomatoes like this in such a long time — my roommates and I used to eat them like this in college and they were like candy to us! I’ll have to start that up again this winter. This dish looks incredibly comforting but also bright — I love that! Have a great weekend, guys.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Yes, the tomatoes confit are like candy, Justine! I love them! Here they are part of a flavorful ensemble 😊. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

  • Avatar
    Reply Markus Mueller December 2, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Yummy! I love how simple this pasta dish is yet, at the same time how ” complex” it looks when put together. True Italian pasta dishes are hard to come by outside of your run of the mill carbonara. Re-using some of the pasta water in my sauces is something I learned while in Switzerland, and I can’t believe more people don’t do this and just dump it down the drain!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you Markus! I am happy to hear you are using the trick of the pasta cooking water. 😉 It does miracles to a pasta dish. All Italian pasta dishes are quite simple but with lots of flavors, where the quality of the ingredients can shine through.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kortney December 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    This dish is 100% drool worthy! I have never thought of using ricotta in pasta this way. I’ve really wanted to try cooking with saffron but not sure how to. Looks like I may need to make some pasta this weekend.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Kortney! It is delicious and so simple. We use ricotta in pasta a lot, next week we’re going to post a lasagna recipe, my mom’s, where she blends the ricotta in the tomato sauce and it makes for a super creamy lasagna, without using any bechamel or heavy cream.

  • Avatar
    Reply Hilary December 3, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Oh my goodness, it is 9 o’clock in the morning right now and all I want to eat is a big bowl of this delicious pasta!! Double thumbs up! 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 3, 2016 at 7:33 am

      Hi Hilary, it’s morning here too and we would go for a bowl of pasta, too 🙂 . We may have to host a morning pasta brunch. Thanks so much!

  • Avatar
    Reply Meaghan December 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Oh this pasta dish looks delicious! You made me at creamiest pasta, without any cream.. Before the holiday season kicks into overdrive I am trying to eat healthy as healthy can be when you have a pasta problem. I have limited myself to one pasta dish a week, and this week it must be this recipe!! Thanks 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Thanks Meaghan, hope you enjoy it! We have pasta once of twice a week, but I could have it everyday 😉.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.