Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes and Three Cheeses

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Don’t even think about making this unless you can get the reddest, the ripest, the juiciest summer tomatoes. The heat of the pasta turns the cheese into a creamy no-cook sauce.

If you can get freshly made ricotta, available in cheese shops and Italian markets, this dish will have an especially sweet, rich flavor. Fresh ricotta, however, is usually made with whole milk. It’s worth it.


  • pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • ½ cup shredded basil leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 ounces Italian fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


    1. Combine the tomatoes, basil, and a sprinkling of salt in a colander. Place in the sink or over a plate. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
    2. Combine the ricotta, milk, pepper, and nutmeg in a large serving bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Stir in the mozzarella and fontina. Let stand at room temperature.
    3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook pasta until al dente, or firm-tender. Drain well and add to the ricotta mixture. Toss until cheeses begin to melt.
    4. Spoon the tomato mixture on top and serve immediately, passing Parmigiano-Reggiano and a pepper mill.