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Rigatoncini with Sausage, Ricotta and Orange Zest


1lb/455 g whole Italian sweet sausages
1Ib/455 g dried rigatoncini pasta
6 tbsp/go ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1Ib/455 g fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup/l00 g grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 oranges, for zesting
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Serves: 4


Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Place the sausages on a baking sheet/tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature on a thermometer reads 150°F/65°C. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut the sausages on an angle into six pieces each. Bring plenty of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook, stirring often, for 9 to 12 minutes or until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan to hot but not smoking. Add the sausages along with the garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sausage is crisp and the garlic is golden. Splash in a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to stop the garlic from cooking further. Remove from the heat and add the ricotta to the sausages. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the pan (or turn everything out into a large, warm serving bowl if the pan is not big enough). Add half of the pecorino and toss well. Zest the oranges directly onto the pasta and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle more of extra-virgin olive oil if needed. Serve hot with the remaining pecorino at the table.

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