- 8-12 oz. reginette pasta, or other long, wide noodle of your choice
- Approx. 1/2 - 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (enough to coat pasta), seasoned with a little salt and pepper
- Approx. 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, crumbled (really, you'll be pulling it apart into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, and Italian seasoning are the best choices), to taste
- Olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a pan)
- 5-8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
- Butter (just a little to toss with the pasta)
- Basil oil (mentioned here) or extra virgin olive oil (to coat the pasta)
Bring a medium-to-large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain it, return it to the pot, then toss it with a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the sausage with a little salt, pepper, dried herbs, and crushed red pepper (just a dash of each is fine). In a large pan, heat a little olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add in the crumbled sausage and cook for about 4-5 minutes, then add in the minced garlic, and cook until the sausage is cooked through and lightly golden-brown. When the sausage is done cooking, toss it and a little basil oil or olive oil with the noodles, then spoon the ricotta into the pasta, and gently toss the mixture to combine. The ricotta is soft and easily coats the pasta, forming a sort deconstructed sauce. Toss in the fresh basil and serve.
This dish is simple, quick to make, and quite tasty. The creamy ricotta clings beautifully to the pasta noodles, and the sausage, with just a hint of heat, brighten up the softer flavors in the dish and add a little texture. Fresh basil adds color and a crisp flavor to the creaminess in the dish and make the dish complete.