Since this winter literally will not quit (um hi it’s MARCH), I figure I might as well do my best to embrace hearty comfort food for the time being. Case in point, this baby shells smothered in a butter roasted tomato sauce and topped with fresh riccotta. Although at this point I am literally daydreaming about spring and summer produce…. asparagus, tomatoes, berries… drool! I’m headed to L.A. for work this week and can’t decide if I’m more excited about 75+ temps (permitted the rain subsides) or gorging myself on produce that goes beyond the category of root vegetable. And then hopefully when I get back New York temps could rise above 40° for a consistent amount of time?  Yes? K, thanks. That would be great.

Thank you all so much for your supportive comments on Friday’s post. While it’s been a rough few weeks, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel- and your thoughtful words are most definitely a part of that. Here’s to a bright week.

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Baby Shells with Spicy Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta  adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 3-4 people

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil (or 1 tsp anchovy paste)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. baby shells
  • Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)
  • fresh basil
  • fresh ricotta (the good stuff from your local cheese store!)

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine tomatoes (crushing them with your hands), garlic, anchovies, butter, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes in a 13×9” baking dish; season with salt and black pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until garlic is very soft and mixture is jammy, 35–40 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, mash to break up garlic and tomatoes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Return pasta to pot and add tomato sauce and pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan, a dollop of ricotta, and fresh basil.

  1. This pasta looks AMAZING! Can’t wait to try it.

    And cheers to a light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Clara

      Haha these photos have a tendency to do that…

  2. This looks so fresh and yummy–I’m always craving pasta, but now I’m REALLY craving pasta!

  3. This colorful dish looks perfect for my pre book launch dinner for the editors and marketing team.

    • Clara

      It’s so great for entertaining- congrats on the book! xx

  4. This. looks. amazing. So simple yet super flavorful, I’m sure. I’d love to come home to a big bowl of this at the end of the day. It’s been morbidly freezing here too, so I’m on the hunt for comforting recipes!

    • Clara

      Totally the ultimate comfort food. I’ve been heating up a big bowl for the past few days and then blissfully sinking into the couch!

  5. Oooh this pasta looks so delicious! Definitely an excellent meal in during such a cold winter!

  6. Wow this looks delisious! Will be trying this soon.

    We just got a few more inches of snow today, and I’m hoping that is the last of it. So done with winter. I’m ready for spring and to wear sandles, dresses, and everything else spring-like.

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  8. Liz D

    My mom and I just made this! Seriously SO GOOD! And so easy to make! Yum:)

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  12. MH

    Any suggestions for a substitute for the anchovy? This looks delicious but I can’t eat fish. Would sea salt work?

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  14. Ashley

    Do you drain the can of tomatoes? Or do you put the juice from the can in with the sauce too?

    • Clara

      Hi Ashley! I put the whole thing in- most of the juice will evaporate.

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