Friday, March 19, 2010

Tomato Ricotta Penne - a meal in minutes

It's almost supper and you have no food planned or thawed to be cooked.  Here is my meal in a pinch that is fast, easy and absolutely delicious.  From start to finish, about 20 minutes to make and it is filling, very healthy and beats toast and cereal.  Sorry I don't have any pictures to add right now.  I will take some the next time it is made. Enjoy!!

Tomato Ricotta Penne

3 cups uncooked Brown Rice Penne Pasta - cooked according to directions
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion - finely diced
1 medium zucchini - diced into bite-size pieces
1 pepper (color of your choice) - diced into bite-size pieces
2 cups Classico Tomato and Basil pasta sauce (or a sauce of your choice)
1 cup ricotta cheese (or half of a small 454 g container)
1/4 cup sheep feta cheese or parmesean cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)

Cook the pasta according to directions.  See cooking notes at the bottom.

In a large skillet, pour the oil into a heated skillet. Saute the onion for a few minutes until tender.  Then add the zucchini and pepper and saute until they are tender (about 5 minutes?).  Add the pasta sauce.  Once that is heated through, add the ricotta cheese and heat for a few more minutes. 

Serve the sauce over cooked pasta.

What would I do different?
If I have leftover cooked chicken, I will add it to the sauce. Since this recipe is mostly used in a pinch, I won't bother to thaw frozen chicken to add.  The ricotta and walnuts add the protein in the dish.
You can also add fresh garlic when sauting the onions but I find the choice of sauce has plenty of flavour.
I am not one to measure my diced veggies so please use your common sense in the amount used.  I like lots of veggies so sometimes use more or less or whatever is in my fridge.

Cooking Notes:
Rice pasta cannot be overcooked.  Follow the directions on the package as different brands will cook different.  I use my timer when cooking pasta to ensure I will not over cook them.  Mine is cooked for 7 minutes from the time it is added to the water and it is perfect every time.

The walnuts in here really do add a beautiful texture and flavour.  As bizzare as it may sound, it really is worth a try.  Pine nuts are often the choice nut for something similar but I find them fairly expensive and will use walnuts instead.  I also always lightly toast the nuts I use as they taste much better than raw ones.

Rating: 4-Star
We really do love this recipe but since it is fairly simple, I can only give it a 4-Star.  If the sauce were from scratch, I would give it 5 but then it is hardly a meal in minutes.


  1. Yay!! SO you really are off and running with this! Good for you - I didn't realize you were so far along - or actually along at all! I'll be back often, so don't dissapoint me!

  2. Hi Jen!
    Looks like a great website you've created. What a good idea. One little thing. The black background makes it a bit difficult to read.
    I will definitely be trying this great recipes!
    Thanks so much!