Fettuccine with Ricotta Herb “Cream” Sauce

Guess what? There is no cream in this  “cream” sauce. So why am I calling it a cream sauce? The combination of the ricotta mixed with a little cooking water from the pasta makes a velvety, rich sauce that is as satisfying as a cream sauce without the fat of real cream. I created this dish one night when we had planned to be out, but found ourselves in with very few fresh vegetables on hand and plenty of herbs growing on our back deck.

  • 8 oz. fettuccine, preferably fresh
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade

  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, thyme and basil. Mix reserved pasta water into the mixture to create a sauce. Toss with the pasta immediately, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. You may use dried fettuccine here as well if you don’t have fresh.
  • 2. I like to use locally made whole milk ricotta because it has the best flavor. You may be able to find this at your local farmer’s market at a vendor of cheese and dairy products. If you don’t have a farmer’s market nearby, a specialty or organic foods store may carry it. In a pinch, use regular old ricotta. Part-skim will deliver a dish with less fat and calories.
  • 3. What is basil chiffonade? It’s simply a fancy way of saying basil cut into thin strips. To do this, roll the leaves up like a cigar and cut into thin strips with a very sharp knife. To illustrate what I’m talking about, click here.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 12 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

One response to “Fettuccine with Ricotta Herb “Cream” Sauce”

  1. Katie says:

    Made this last night! It was fabulous. Thanks!

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