Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce with Ricotta and Black Olive Tapenade

A classic Italian dish by Laura Santtini.


  • 400 g spaghetti
  • for the sauce:
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 900 g cherry tomatoes (halved lengthways)
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves (roughly torn)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large knob of butter
  • 150 g ricotta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 tblsp black olive tapenade
  • more fresh basil leaves
  • other requirements :
  • a pasta cooking pot (4-5 litres) ideally with a built in colander
  • big while bowl to display finished dish in


  1. Heat 5mm oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Toss in the garlic and cook, stirring, for a few minutes to flavour the oil.
  2. Just before the garlic begins to colour, add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down but not totally lost their shape. Place the butter in the serving bowl, add the drained cooked pasta and toss with three-quarters of the basic sauce.
  4. Top with the remaining sauce and some crumbled ricotta.
  5. Drizzle with tapenade and scatter over some more basil leaves.


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