Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 2-4 servings
1/2 lb. mezzi rigatoni, bronze cut
1 cup basil leaves, packed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 tsp. salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup smoked ricotta
For the pesto, add the basil leaves, garlic, Parmigiano, pine nuts, salt and the juice of 1/2 lemon to a blender. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil (roughly 1/4 cup) and blend until smooth.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add plenty of salt. Cook the pasta until it's al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, add the pesto to a sauté pan over low heat along with the heavy cream. Stir and let simmer over low heat until the pasta has finished cooking.
Strain the pasta and reserve 3/4 cup pasta water. Add the pasta directly to the pan with the creamy pesto sauce and 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss over high heat until combined. Add more pasta water as needed, 1/4 cup at a time.
Stir in the smoked ricotta and serve!
Tip: You can either add the smoked ricotta directly to the sauté pan with the pesto rigatoni and stir to incorporate it into the sauce, or you can plate the pesto rigatoni and top it with the smoked ricotta - whichever you prefer!