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This easy one-pot tomato basil pasta recipe with ricotta requires only one pot, minimal effort, and it’s ready in less than 20 minutes. It’s a delicious cozy family meal perfect for on-the-go weeknights!
The best part is that you don’t have to cook and drain the pasta separately, but the pasta cooks with the flavorsome sauce all in one pot.
And not only cooking all together means quicker dinner, and less hassle and pots to wash, but it also delivers amazing results. The pasta absorbs all the flavor from the sauce and releases the starch making the final dish rich and luscious.
Add the fresh basil at the end of cooking to preserve its beautiful aroma, and finally complete with ricotta and grated parmesan cheese to take it over the top!
Believe me, this one-pot penne pasta is a no brainer, versatile, and you’ll be asked for seconds.
List of the ingredients
- Short pasta shapes (penne, fusilli…)
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Freshly grated parmesan
- Olive oil
- Paprika (optional)
- Salt & Pepper
How to make one-pot tomato basil pasta
(Note: the full recipe is at the bottom of the post)
- Saute’ garlic, oregano and paprika in olive oil.
- Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper and the pasta.
- Cover with a lid and cook until al dente.
- When the pasta is nearly done stir in the fresh basil.
- Then finish the dish with ricotta, parmesan and give a good stir. Done!
Tips to make one-pot tomato basil pasta
- Start sauteing the minced garlic in some olive oil. Don’t skip this step, it takes only seconds and definitely adds a deeper flavor (better than adding the whole garlic cloves to the sauce).
- Choosing short pasta shapes such as penne, fusilli or bow-tie makes this method even easier and doesn’t require you to stir constantly, definitely an added bonus!
- Add salt at the beginning, not at the end. While cooking, pasta soaks up flavor and saltiness from the sauce. You can always “adjust” the seasoning according to your taste at the end, if you wish.
- Cooking time might vary according to the pasta brands and shapes. However, cooking the pasta into into the tomato sauce will take a bit longer than the cooking time give in the package instructions.
One-pot tomato basil pasta variations
This is definitely a customizable one-pot penne pasta recipe, and you can easily add protein or vegetables of your choice:
- Firstly, you can substitute ricotta with cream cheese, mascarpone, soft goat cheese or crumbled feta. These cheese are tasty and rich, start with 1/3 cup and add more only if needed, trust you judgment here. However, you can skip the cheese all together if you wish to keep it vegan, it will be delicious anyway!
- You can add fresh vegetables such as 10 oz of raw baby spinach in the last minutes of the cooking time. But also leftover sauteed vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, or kale will work (add them along with the basil).
- Shredded grilled chicken makes another delicious add-on if you wish.
What do to with leftover ricotta?
If you are wondering what to do with the leftover ricotta, I’ve got you cover with these delicious recipes:
Looking for more one-pot pasta recipes?
If you love hearty one-pot pasta recipes full of vegetables and legumes, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find some of my favorite Italian recipes:
- Pasta with peas
- Pasta with beans (pasta e fagioli)
- White bean pasta
- Pasta with chickpeas (pasta e ceci)
- Pasta with lentils
- Pumpkin pasta
If you make this one-pot basil tomato pasta, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment or rate it. I would love to hear from you!
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One-Pot basil Tomato Pasta with Ricotta
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 ¾ cups hot water, plus more if needed
- ¾ tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to serve
- 8oz (220 grams) short pasta shapes (penne, fusilli, bow-ties…)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves, shredded
- ½ cup (4oz/120 grams) ricotta
- ⅓ cup (1oz/30 grams) grated parmesan, plus more to serve
- pinch of chili flakes, to serve
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil then add garlic, paprika and oregano. Saute' for about 45 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, hot water, salt, pepper, the pasta, give a good stir and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook until al dente (start checking the doneness according to the cooking time stated on the package, although it might take a bit longer with this method).
- Stir every 3-4 minutes and keep an eye on the amount of liquid. It might look a lot at first, but magically the pasta will absorb it by the end of the cooking time. But if at some point you think it needs more, just add a little bit of hot water.
- When the pasta is still al dente add the shredded basil leaves and give a good stir.
- Then finish with ricotta and parmesan cheese, stir to combine and serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese if you wish, and a good pinch of chili flakes. Enjoy!
I was trying to use up some ricotta cheese which is why I was looking for a recipe. This was delicious! My whole family loved it. I add chicken to it but would also think spinach would be great as well. Thanks!
Great, I’m so glad it turned out delicious! : )
Thanks so much for sharing, Lori. x
Could sour cream be substituted for the ricotta?
Hey Samantha, I’ve never tested the recipe using 1/2 cup of sour cream instead of ricotta, but you might to swap it using less sour cream.
Made this for dinner today and it was so yummy. No substitutions, it’s great as is!
Awesome, thanks for your lovely feedback, Ollie! : )
I originally stumbled upon this recipe because I needed to get rid of some ricotta cheese in my fridge, but I was drawn to it mainly because anything pasta and tomatoes are big deal in my house. My stepdaughter loved this and enthusiastically asked for seconds! Plan to make this again and get creative adding other stuff!
I’m so glad to hear that, Molly! This recipe is so versatile, perfect if you chose to add extras. : )
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback! x
I love this recipe!!! So easy to make and adapt. I like to add spinach to mine & have made it with multiple pasta types.
That’s awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback, Rachel. : )
Have a lovely weekend. x
If I double the quantity of pasta, would I double all the other ingredients including water and tomatoes?
Yes, Melanie, you need to double the recipe and make sure to use a larger pot as well. x
Made this for lunch today and added in some leftover roasted veggies I had from a few days ago! It was delicious and super simple to make!
Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, Chloe… I’m so glad it was easy and delicious!
Just made this this evening. Followed the recipe almost exactly, just added far more garlic and didn’t have fresh basil on hand. I also pan cooked some Italian sausages. Pretty great for a fast Tuesday dinner!
That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your lovely feedback, Randi : )