Today was our first day of storms and rain and it made me think of this warm, autumn pasta. It is a recipe from my mother-in-law and it quickly became one of my favorite pastas. After several continuous days of heavy red sauce, this light creamy pasta is a welcome change. It has a very delicate flavor and I like to add fresh thyme to round it out. If you like the sweet flavor of red onions, you will be sure to like this pasta.
Ricotta & Cipolla Rossa
1 large red onion
1 ½ cups/300 grams fresh ricotta cheese*
2 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup water
Salt & pepper to taste
200 grams short pasta
*One note before starting the recipe: the flavor of this pasta is extremely dependant on good ingredients. Try to find a fresh source of ricotta cheese from your local deli/grocer. Bland cheese will make bland pasta. You may also make your own ricotta cheese in 20 minutes! Check out Ina Garten and Gwenyth Paltrow making fresh ricotta cheese.
Slice the onion and toss into a hot pot with the thyme, salt and pepper and a drizzle of EVOO. Cover and let the onions sweat until just starting to brown. Add the water and continue to cook, covered, until the onions are soft, translucent and dark. Remove from heat and keep covered.
Boil a pot of water and cook your pasta. When ready, drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the ricotta cheese to the pot with your onions. Heat on a medium flame, stirring well until all combined, adding the pasta water as needed if the mixture seems dry. Serve with a short, spiral pasta like fusilli or rotini.