We The Italians | Italian cuisine: Tagliatelle with Basil Ricotta Cream Sauce

Italian cuisine: Tagliatelle with Basil Ricotta Cream Sauce

Italian cuisine: Tagliatelle with Basil Ricotta Cream Sauce

  • WTI Magazine #154 Aug 25, 2022
  • 385

August is for holidays and time spent with family and friends - not the time for lengthy recipes and long cooking times. When you’re looking for a tasty dish that can be made in less than 20 minutes and is elegant enough to serve for company, turn to one of my favorite pasta creations of all time.

Each time I prepare it, it calls to mind the quote of Bartolomeo Nardini from Partenope in Cucina. “This macaroni is to be eaten looking skywards, where its taste brings about ecstasy, with a thought to God for his divine providence.” Quick and easy to make, this dish satisfies all of our pasta cravings while incorporating late summer’s bountiful fresh basil. 

Tagliatelle are narrow “little cuts” of long, egg-based pasta strands that are traditionally paired with Bolognese sauce, but taste great with other tomato and butter-based sauces as well. If you’re as much of a pasta lover as I am, it’s important to know that pasta secca, or dried pasta, which is commonly known as pastasciutta in Italy, has become such an important staple around the world that it is hard to imagine that prior to 1867, when the Buitoni company set out to mass produce pasta, it had never been produced on such a large scale. Until that time, pasta was a handmade artisanal product that was taught and passed down from generation to generation.  Regardless of whether your using fresh or dried tagliatelle, this recipe from Italian Recipes for Dummies is sure to please. The wine pairing is by Dr. Sante Laviola.





        *        1 pound tagliatelle pasta

        *        1 cup fresh ricotta

        *        Bunch fresh basil (roughly 3/4 cup), reserving a few leaves for garnish

        *        1/4 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for garnish if desired

        *        1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

        *        1/4 cup Amy Riolo Selections or other good-quality extra virgin olive oil

        *        Salt, to taste

        *        Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients except for salt and pepper in a food processor, reserving some of the Grana Padano cheese for garnish.
  3. Process until smooth. Taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and olive oil to your preference. Add a bit of pasta water if sauce needs to be thinner.
  4. Spoon sauce into a large bowl. Using tongs, toss pasta with sauce until combined. Garnish with basil and Grana Padano cheese, if desired.


You can use your own homemade tagliatelle (see Chapter 9), buy fresh tagliatelle, or use the dried variety for this recipe. When serving this dish, be sure to pair it with grilled or roasted meat or poultry for a second course.

Pair this dish with a bottle of Malvasia puntinata (or Malvasia del Lazio) or similar. This wine is characterized by its marked fruity and fresh-savory note, which, when blended with Trebbiao grapes, also gives an almond finish.


Be sure to buy the best-quality cheese and freshest basil possible to make this quick sauce.


Other flat, long pastas such as fettuccine, pappardelle, and trenette also work well with this sauce.

Photo credit: Wendy Jo Peterson and Reminisce with Us