White Pasta with Garlic Parmigiano Breadcrumbs

By • March 4, 2012 43 Comments

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Author Notes: For a quick dinner, I took an idea from my childhood and put my own spin on it: pasta of your choice (I use linguine) with ricotta and milk, plus a topping of bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, butter, and Parmigiano.

A couple of notes: Take the ricotta out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you prepare the dish, as it will need to be room temperature.You don’t have to be exact with the measurements: Tailor it to suite your taste. Double the ingredients to feed a larger crowd.
sdebrango

Food52 Review: This recipe is a brilliant reminder of the pleasure that can come from combining just a few simple ingredients. I was surprised by the quantity of breadcrumb topping -- 1 1/2 cups is a lot of breadcrumbs -- but it really does set this dish apart by providing a welcome contrast to the richness of the ricotta.Etta

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
  • handful flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1/2-1 pounds linguine (or whatever pasta you like) or less if you like the pasta really thick with the milky sauce.
  • 1/2-3/4 cups milk You can also add some of the hot pasta water if you find it's a bit dry
  • 2 cups ricotta (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a skillet, melt butter with a splash of olive oil, then add the garlic and cook until it just starts to brown. Add the bread crumbs and continue to cook until the crumbs are lightly browned. Take off the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the Parmigiano, parsley, and lemon zest, stir to combine, and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When there is a rolling boil, add a lot of salt --taste the water; it should taste salty. Put the pasta in and stir to separate. While the pasta is cooking, heat your milk until it's hot to the touch (I microwaved it for 45 seconds). Put the ricotta and Parmigiano in your serving bowl and add the hot milk, mix it up, and season to taste. When the pasta is al dente, drain and add the hot pasta to the bowl with the ricotta-milk mixture. Toss to combine and top with the bread crumbs. Garnish with a little more grated Parmigiano and serve.
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Comments (43) Questions (2)

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5 months ago cooking44

I made this last night and it was a hit. I added just a pinch of fresh nutmeg. Will make this again.

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so glad and i LOVE the idea of fresh nutmeg. Thank you.

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5 months ago NotTooSweet

I made this for my family while we were vacationing in the Catskills (they did the skiing, I did the cooking!). I doubled the recipe and the leftovers were delicious for lunch the following day. Served pan roasted broccoli with it and that was a perfect side dish. After adding the pasta to the cheese/milk mixture I did end up adding a little over 1/4 cup of pasta water. The pasta didn't seem hot enough so I put it all in a large casserole, sprinkled the bread crumbs over the top and placed it in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes. Everyone loved the pasta and I will definitely make it again. Thanks sdebrango for a great dish!

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you for getting back to us. So glad you liked it. I am actually going to adjust the recipe with a range of liquid amount and the suggestion to add some pasta water. Thank you again and so glad you enjoyed. I love the idea of baking in a casserole with the breadcrumbs on top.

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5 months ago Doc

I thought this sounded like a great meal, so I gave it a try.
I followed the directions to the letter and it came out super dry.
Other than the 1/2 cup of milk, (and I guess the butter once it's melted) there's no liquid component to the recipe. Not sure if other folks adjusted the recipe?

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Doc;
You need to adjust this to your taste, I had mentioned in the headnote that there are really no exact amounts you adjust to how you like it. I actually make less than a pound of pasta when I make it, probably about 3/4 of a pound and it's pretty moist. You can add pasta water, more ricotta or milk whatever you like to get it to how you like it. The breadcrumbs are crucial, 1 1/2 cups sounds like a lot but using fresh bread crumbs is different than dried, the volume is different and it will not over power the pasta. I am sorry it was dry.

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5 months ago Doc

I was re-thinking what could have gone wrong - as I followed the recipe exactly (exactly as I read it). I think the issue is that the ricotta and hot milk must be mixed in a separate bowl from the bread crumbs - this would allow the hot milk to help melt the ricotta - this would add some moisture to the dish.
THEN add the (hot) pasta to the milk\ricotta\parmesan bowl and toss this...and only at the very end add the breadcrumbs.
That has to be the issue.
I added the breadcrumbs to the ricotta\milk\parmesan and it had the consistency of wet sand, then I added the pasta and tossed the whole mix.

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes thats correct, the breadcrumbs are a garnish. You mix the hot pasta in with the milk and ricotta. Sprinkle the bread crumbs afterwards. That has to be it. I will go back and make that very clear and I'm sorry it was not. Thank you for this.

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5 months ago jhudora

Honestly, this was one of the worst pasta dishes that I've ever tried! I had all yhe ingredients and did exactly step by step, I even read it once more after Ia was done to make sure I didn't miss anything but everythis was done by the book. It just was sooo dry, maybe if the bread crumbs are less it wiil be better.

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5 months ago Sabina

Reserve some of the pasta water and add back in when you toss all the ingredients together, you will have a much nicer dish.

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am really sorry it didn't meet your expectations. As Sabina said you can add pasta water but you can also add more milk or ricotta to make it more wet. I have never had it turn out dry. I also do not use a full pound of pasta, I will make a note of that in the recipe. Again sorry it didn't work. The breadcrumbs add a lot of flavor and are important to the overall outcome of the dish so I wouldn't adjust that what I would adjust is the amount of cheese or milk or add pasta water. In my notes I mention that you do not have to be exact, it's not like baking you can adjust to suite your individual taste.

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5 months ago jhudora

No need to be sorry :) Probably it's a matter of personal taste. Thanks for the advices

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6 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

sexyLAMBCHOPx is a trusted home cook.

Do you think cottage cheese would be okay as a substitute for ricotta?

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6 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

To me it tastes different, more sour than ricotta so it would change the flavor but I do think it could work. That said if you can get ricotta I would recommend.

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6 months ago Sabina

In our home this was considered "depression food" and a Lenten staple.

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6 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes my Mom made it during Lent often. It is inexpensive to make and filling. Thank you so much.

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7 months ago Kaitlin Holland

I just made this, and it was absolutely delicious!!! So easy, & the best part was that I had about 90% of the ingredients on hand.. The only things I didn't have were milk (substituted with cream) and parsley (served the pasta over a bed of fresh spinach). So delicious & comforting - this dish tasted like a hug. Thank you!

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7 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

That makes me so happy to hear, thank you so much and it is wonderful that you enjoyed. I love that you served on a bed of spinach.

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7 months ago Kukla

Congratulations Suzanne on a well deserved CP!
I love any dish which has a good amount of Ricotta and this is it!

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7 months ago inpatskitchen

Congrats on the CP! So happy for you!

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7 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Pat.

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7 months ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This is exactly the kind of recipe I love most - especially this time of year!

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7 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Susan. it really is just perfect for a simple cold weather pasta.

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7 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm so looking forward to trying this. Congrats on the Community Pick! ;o)

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7 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, what a nice surprise.

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8 months ago Aliwaks

This has all the things I love....

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8 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, it's what my Mom served except she didn't add the breadcrumbs, I like it both says but they definitely make it more interesting.

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over 2 years ago Madhuja

This looks like such a comforting dish!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you Madhuja, that it is!

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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

I love the ricotta in this!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much!

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over 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

This is my favorite dish! I often make very basic version, without ricotta and milk, cannot wait to try this one.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, this dish (without the breadcrumbs) was something my Mom made all the time, it was quick, easy and economical. The whole family loved it. I do hope you enjoy!

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over 2 years ago Fig and Quince

Looks totally yum!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Azita, it's so easy to make too!

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over 3 years ago EmilyC

Love this recipe...especially for a busy weeknight when you want something delicious and comforting. Saved!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, it truly is one of those recipes you can whip up in no time. I make extra bread crumb topping and just keep it in the freezer, toss it in a pan to crisp for a few seconds.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum, sounds simple and delicious!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, yes very simple, I wish I were more complex sometimes in my flavor profiles but this really is delicious.

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Saw this on your blog earlier....I just LOVE it!!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Pat, the best thing is how easy and quick it is.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, kind of like Italian macaroni and cheese