Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Don’t you just love meals you can make in the snap, but taste like you cooked all day?

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

I work three part-time jobs at the moment (long story) and I also attend culinary school at night, so I understand and adore quick meals that do not taste quick.  What makes this pasta sauce so tasty is the addition of a little zinfandel.  Now, we are not talking that prissy white zinfandel (and if you like that wine, sorry!), we are talking a robust, meaty zinfandel.  It stands up to the acidic tomatoes really well and rounds out the sauce.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

It is a hearty sauce so I served mine over rigatoni, but just about any shape pasta will work.  On top I added a bit of ricotta cheese.  I love that I can have cheese in some bites and not in others. Add a little fresh torn basil and a grating of parmesan cheese and you have dinner!

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta    Serves 4

8 ounces Rigatoni, or other tube pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon crusted red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon sugar
1 – 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup zinfandel (I used Ravenswood Vintner’s Blend)
2 tablespoons basil, roughly torn
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Once it begins to shimmer add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about five minutes.  Add the garlic and cool until fragrant, about thirty seconds.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined.  Cook until the tomato paste begins to darken in color, about three minutes.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, and fennel.  Cook for three minutes then add the tomatoes and stir, making sure to scrape the bottom well.   Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer until it is reduced by 1/3, about twenty minutes.

While the sauce reduces cook the pasta according to the package directions in very salty water.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Add the zinfandel and cook for five minutes.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

Serve the pasta with the torn basil and a dollop of ricotta cheese.  Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Pasta with Zinfandel Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • I love the big thick pasta noodles. Topped off with a great sauce too!

  • Looks super delicious. Quick and hearty meals are the absolute best.

  • Looks very scrumptious!

  • Great recipe! I love wine in tomato sauces, especially a good wine. what really intrigued me was the addition of the ricotta. Hmm Im going to have to try it!

  • Absolutely a beautiful pasta dish! It doesn’t get much better!

    I love the sauce. So creative!

  • I love Tomato based sauces! Especially if served with pasta!

  • Rigatoni pasta has a great texture that makes a special tasty treat when the tomato sauce travels into and fills up the tube. The ricotta cheese dollop and fresh shred parm are perfect.

    Culinarily yours,

  • I am totally with you on a good, quick meal in a short amount of time. Fabulous food does not have to be laborious…I can be, but it’s not a requirement.

    I read your “About” page and had to giggle at your cake mix comment. Love that you stand up for what you believe in and refuse to be shamed by the ingredient snobs. I, like you, do most of my cook from scratch but an occasional convenience ingredient does not make me a bad cook.


  • This is singing to me and I will make this – maybe tonight. I work a host of freelance jobs – yep – sometimes 3-4 at a time and love recipes like these – minimum effort but packed with flavor!

  • This sauce looks so delicious and simple! I am filing this one for an easy weeknight meal 🙂

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  • Oh, it’s gorgeous! There are few things better than a bowl of pasta with a hearty tomato sauce. And I looove the dollop of cheese on top!

  • This looks so simple and so delicious. I do tons of cooking but, don’t tell anyone, I’ve never made my own pasta sauce!!!! I must do this and quick!

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  • I wholeheartedly agree on the addition of wine… it adds so much to lots of dishes… I like to add a bit to a beef gravy for salisbury steaks, to a beef stew or to chili. It really seems to add depth to rustic dishes. Thanks for this idea as well.

  • Looks like a very healthy and delicious pasta dish! Yum!

  • this is an awesome sauce – thanks for the post

  • lk

    this looks great! pasta is one of my “quick and easy” meals too, and I always add red wine to the sauce (even if I cheat and buy jarred sauce, which I really have no excuse to do!)

  • Absolutely yummy

  • Mmmm….zinfandel….one of my favorite wines! This looks delicious!

  • Wow, that looks beautiful and delicious. Great pictures.

  • Wow three jobs, this is a perfect meal after a long day, great pic!

  • You got me hungry already. I love pasta recipes.

  • Hot damn! that looks good.

  • Yum! I never added wine to my sauce, but this recipe has surely changing my mind.

  • Pasta is so comforting! yum!

  • Yum…a reason to drink some wine, have some leftover and then have to use it up making this dish!

  • I just read your about page and found out you are also in TX… I am in Houston.. where are you at?

    I am a big fan of zin and love a little of red wine in my red sauce 🙂

  • Your pasta looks amazing… I am all for adding a little wine to my food. 🙂 I will definitely make this one for my hubby.

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  • Looks like my next Sunday meal!

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