The Italians like uncomplicated pasta recipes with simple ingredients such as Rotini with Fresh Lemon and Grape Tomatoes. They want to taste what the main flavors are. In this rotini dish, you can taste the tartness of the lemon, the richness of the olive oil, the sweetness of the grape tomatoes, the creaminess of the cheese, and the taste and aroma of the basil.
The inspiration for this dish came from Giada De Laurentis but we modified it for All Our Way. We’ve been making this recipe for many years.
It takes less ingredients than our antipasto salad but every time we serve this pasta we get lots of compliments. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s tasty. What more can you ask?
The beauty of this recipe is that it is delicious served hot and if there is any leftover pasta it’s outstanding cold.
What’s needed in Rotini with Fresh Lemon?
Paramount is the freshness of the ingredients!
- The lemon should be firm and heavy with juice.
- The garlic cloves you use should be firm and white with no signs of sprouting or yellowing.
- You must sliver or thinly slice the garlic, not chop or mince, because the more the garlic cells are broken down, the stronger the odor and flavor.
- Good quality olive oil is also a must as well as having grape tomatoes that show no sign of shriveling.
- The preferred cheese to use in this recipe is an Italian cheese called Ricotta Salata.
What is Ricotta Salata?
” Ricotta” means re-cooked and “Salata” means salted. The cheese is made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days.
It’s milky white in color with firm texture and salty taste. It’s often used in salads and is ideal for slicing, crumbling, and grating.
If you can’t find this cheese you can substitute Feta.
How to finish the hot Rotini with fresh lemon.
As a finishing touch, you sprinkle ribbons of basil on top of the finished pasta and then gently mix it all together. Your basil leaves should be a deep green with no signs of black on them.
To chiffonade the basil, stack the basil leaves and roll them into a tube. Then cut them across the ends of the tube with your sharp knife to produce fine ribbons.
We promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of this rotini recipe and the superior taste.
Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
YOU MAY NEED . . .
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Rotini With Lemon, Grape Tomatoes, Basil, Ricotta Salata
This is an ideal pasta dish to make for a quick meatless meal or take to a potluck or picnic. It travels well and is delicious eaten hot or cold. This will last several days in the refrigerator but we can guarantee it won’t last that long.
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Rotini With Lemon, Grape Tomatoes, Basil and Ricotta Salata
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 pound Grape Tomatoes halved
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced or slivered
- 1 cup crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese or Feta cheese
- 10 Basil leaves chiffonade
- 1 teaspoon Mediterranean Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl add the tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, Ricotta Salata cheese, salt and pepper. Let sit while the flavors meld.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook the rotini, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. You will want the pasta al dente because it needs to soak up some of the tomato and lemon. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water before draining the pasta
- Place the hot pasta on top of the tomatoes and other ingredients. Toss to combine, adding the pasta water if you feel the pasta is too dry. I find that there is usually enough juice in the bottom that the additional water is unnecessary.
- Serve. If you have any pasta left over, refrigerate and it is also good cold.
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