This Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta cheese recipe is an easy way to dress-up traditional Carbonara! Add a creamy ricotta mixture to warm pasta, creating a semi-rich, flavorful creamy, Parmesan cheese sauce.
A quick, delicious Italian pasta dish that is ready in less than 20-minutes!
What you'll need
This recipe is similar to my Traditional Pasta Carbonara only that it incorporates creamy ricotta cheese and fresh diced tomatoes.
Just a few simple ingredients bring this delicious pasta dish to the dinner table in minutes.
- Spaghetti noodles- you can use any strand pasta you have - linguine, fettucine, angel hair pasta
- Ricotta cheese - for best results use a whole fat ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese- freshly grated Parmesan
- Eggs- whole large eggs
- Olive oil- I recommend using a high-quality olive oil in the carbonara recipe
- Tomato- fresh diced tomato is not in a traditional pasta carbonara, but it adds flavor, color and texture to this recipe
- Fresh basil for garnish - fresh basil is a must
How to make it
This Italian pasta dish is easy to make and doesn't require a lot of prep time or chopping. Three simple steps :
- Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package instructions (al dente)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, a lightly beaten egg and seasonings; temper this mixture with some warm pasta water
- Using tongs, transfer cooked noodles to a large skillet; add cheese mixture and a little more pasta water
- Season to taste with a little salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Garnish with more fresh Parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes and fresh chopped basil
If you're using fresh basil, do not cut it in advance. It will turn black. Cut fresh basil right before you serve the Pasta Carbonara.
This quick and easy pasta dinner is a life-saver on a busy weeknight. I usually serve it with homemade Caesar salad and warm garlic bread.
What is Pasta Carbonara?
Carbonara refers to an Italian dish with a few simple, yet flavorful ingredients including Pecorino cheese, whole raw eggs and black pepper. The eggs are not cooked, but lightly beaten and tossed in the warm pasta. Traditional carbonara recipes do not include cream or cream cheese.
How to avoid scrambled eggs in carbonara
The best way to avoid scrambled eggs in your carbonara dish is to temper the eggs first with a few tablespoons of warm pasta water. This brings the temperature of the raw eggs to a point where they can be incorporated into the hot pasta without cooking.
Substitutions for raw eggs in carbonara
If you prefer not to use raw eggs, use a pasteurized egg product, usually found in the dairy section.
What is Ricotta cheese?
Ricotta is a fresh, unripened cheese from cows, sheep or goats; it's the "whey" part of a cheese...remember "Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey?"
Well, ricotta cheese is the whey part of the cheese-making process and cottage cheese is the "curds" part of the process. In Spain, Ricotta is "Requesón" and in Portugal, it's "Requeijao."
Can I substitute cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese acts as a good substitute for ricotta in Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta. However, cottage cheese has more liquid than ricotta, so drain the liquid prior to incorporating it into the recipe. Use a fine strainer or cheesecloth to drain cottage cheese before adding.
Storage and reheating
Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, use microwave, stovetop or oven. You may have to add a little water when reheating. Freezing is not recommended due to the eggs- the texture of the pasta and cheese sauce changes.
Serve creamy Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta cheese with a fresh Caesar salad and warm Italian bread.
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Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta Cheese
- 6 cups water
- 1 lb. pasta spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine
- 15 oz ricotta cheese whole fat; not skim
- 2 whole eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 cup Parmigiana Reggiano cheese , fresh, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup tomato , diced (as garnish); optional
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil (as garnish)
- 2 tablespoons high quality olive oil (optional) to drizzle over finished dish
- Shred fresh Parmigiana Reggiano cheese; set aside
- Dice tomatoes (optional); set aside
- Lightly beat eggs; set aside
Make the Pasta Carbonara
- Bring large stockpot of water to boil; add pasta; cook approximately 8-9 minutes per pound of of pasta; while this is cooking, make ricotta mixture6 cups water, 1 lb. pasta
- In a large bowl, combine Ricotta, Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, eggs, salt and pepper15 oz ricotta cheese, 2 whole eggs, 1 cup Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- Add 2 tablespoons of the warm pasta water to the egg/cheese mixture; combine well
- Using tongs, transfer pasta directly from boiling pot to a large skillet (on medium heat)
- Pour Parmesan/Ricotta mixture to skillet; combine well by tossing with tongs
- Add more pasta water if needed
- Once pasta is well-coated with cheese mixture, plate, garnish with fresh diced tomatoes and fresh basil; garnish with additional Parmesan if desired¼ cup tomato, 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- Drizzle with olive oil and serve2 tablespoons high quality olive oil
- Adjust the thickness/thinness of the cheese sauce by adding more reserved pasta water, or by adding more cheese.
- Do Not cut the fresh basil in advance; it will turn black; do this at the last minute, right before you serve it