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Ricotta and Corn Rigatoni
with Italian sausage / balsamic tomato salad

Active: 30 Total: 45

Cooking pasta in a small amount of water results in a cooking liquid high in concentrated starch. This makes a terrific base for building creamy sauces. Italian sausage lends boldness to the dish, while ricotta and fresh corn balance it with sweetness.
Smarts #1: We recommend using whole milk ricotta for this meal, as low-fat varieties will yield a grainier, less creamy sauce.
Smarts #2: Corn and ricotta are delicately flavored and can easily be overpowered by the more assertive sausage. Try to use the best varieties that you can find, taste and salt as needed throughout cooking, and be cautious about using more sausage than called for - it will become the dominant flavor.



Ricotta and Corn Rigatoni:
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz , grated
  • Corn kernels, fresh or frozen - 1 cup
  • Basil, fresh - 6 leaves , chopped
  • Lemon zest - 1 tsp
  • Cheese, ricotta - 1 cup (use whole milk ricotta for best results)
  • Eggs - 1
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Sausage, sweet or hot Italian - 8 oz
  • Butter - 1 Tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Pasta, rigatoni - 8 oz (sub any short pasta shape)
Balsamic Tomato Salad:
  • Shallots - 1 clove , diced
  • Tomatoes, cherry or grape - 2 cups , halved
  • Basil, fresh - 6 leaves , chopped
  • Vinegar, balsamic - 1 Tbsp
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp


  1. Shallots / Garlic / Parmesan - Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Corn - If using fresh corn, cut kernels off cobs. If using frozen corn, defrost. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  3. Tomatoes / Basil (for pasta and salad) / Lemon zest - Prep as directed.

  4. Make salad - Whisk vinegar and olive oil together in a serving bowl. Add tomatoes, shallots, and basil (portion for salad) and toss to combine. Season to taste with some salt and pepper.

  5. Make pasta sauce - In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, and eggs until well combined. Season with some salt and pepper.

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  1. Heat a Dutch oven with cooking oil over medium heat. Add sausage and saute until sausage is cooked through and browned, breaking it apart as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out the pan and return it to the heat.

  2. Add butter to the pan. When butter is melted and bubbly, add corn and saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.

  3. Add water to the pan along with some salt and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, reduce heat to low, and cover with a lid. Simmer corn and pasta together, covered, until pasta is al dente.

  4. When pasta is finished cooking, spoon out 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid (there should be very little left) and stir it into the ricotta mixture.

  5. Add reserved sausage to the pasta and corn. Remove pan from heat and fold in the ricotta mixture until everything is evenly coated. Taste and season with some additional salt and pepper, if needed.

  6. Divide pasta among serving plates and top with basil (portion for pasta). Enjoy with tomato salad on the side.



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