Ricotta and Basil filled Paccheri Pasta

Ricotta and Basil Filled Paccheri Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce.

This Southern Italian ricotta and basil filled paccheri recipe is so full of Mediterranean flavour , yet super simple to make. If you’ve never tried Neapolitan paccheri pasta before, this is a great recipe to begin with.

ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce

The pasta.

Of course, this ricotta and basil filled paccheri recipe can be made with other types of pasta tubes such as rigatoni. However, if you can find paccheri, I highly recommend using it. For those who aren’t familiar with this pasta, paccheri are large pasta tubes from Southern Italy. This pasta was invented in Campania and is often called paccheri Napoletana. When buying paccheri, look out for pasta from Gragnano or Naples for the best quality.

ingredients for ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce

The great thing about paccheri pasta is it can be served just boiled and dressed in a sauce, baked like in pasta al forno or filled and then baked or not. Filled and fried paccheri is also a popular Neapolitan street food! You can read more about the origins and history of paccheri if you click here.

fresh ricotta and basil in white bowl

The filling.

One of the most traditional paccheri filling ingredients is ricotta, like in this filled paccheri recipe . Italians also often add spinach to the ricotta filling. In fact, ricotta and spinach is a classic combination in the Italian kitchen. It is used to fill other pasta such as conchiglioni or cannelloni (manicotti) and also to make a type of gnocchi called gnudi or malfatti. However, there are filled paccheri recipes with other greens or herbs mixed with the ricotta. In this recipe, I have used fresh basil.

ricotta and basil filling in white bowl with piping bag and teaspoon

The filling for this recipe is very easy and requires no cooking. In Naples, they often use ricotta di bufala, made from the milk of the Italian Mediterranean buffalo. But, I couldn’t find any here. So I used cow’s milk ricotta. I suppose even sheep ricotta would work well. The important thing is that the ricotta is fresh but not too liquidy. If needs be, you can strain the ricotta through a muslin or cotton cloth to remove some of the liquid before pureeing it with the basil.

fresh tomatoes blanched in boiling water

The tomato sauce.

To speed up making this ricotta and basil filled paccheri recipe, you can of course use a ready-made tomato sauce. However,  homemade tomato sauce is always going to taste better and be healthier!  Here in Northern Italy, we are lucky that we can find great tomatoes all year round. Most of them come from Sicily, especially in the winter. In summer, we have local tomatoes everywhere (including in my garden!).

peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes in frying pan with garlic and olive oil

Many Italians also make their own ‘passata’ during the summer and use it up in the winter. Passata is basically just skinned and pureed or crushed tomatoes without any seasoning. It’s also available in all Italian supermarkets and is used in pasta sauces throughout the country. I usually make my tomato sauce using a combination of fresh tomatoes and passata.

homemade tomato sauce in frying pan

The basic Italian tomato sauce only has tomatoes and garlic which are cooked in olive oil. In this filled paccheri recipe I added some peperoncino to give it a bit of a kick. But you can leave it out, if you don’t like spicy food.

Making this ricotta and basil filled paccheri recipe.

Although this recipe involves 4 stages, it’s very easy to make and doesn’t take too long. The tomato sauce takes the longest (about 30 minutes). But, while it is cooking you can make the filling and boil the pasta. Then just fill the paccheri and bake in the oven for 10 minutes and serve.

ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce

The basic ingredients are just pasta, tomatoes and ricotta with some basil, garlic and peperoncino for added flavour. Simple right? But, like so many other simple Italian pasta recipes, this is so delicious. I’m sure, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and again!

If you do try this ricotta and basil filled paccheri recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Some other delicious paccheri recipes on The Pasta Project

  1. Paccheri with calamari and potato
  2. Mezzi paccheri with mushrooms and cream
  3. Paccheri with porcini, speck and pistachio

ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce

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5 from 27 votes
ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce
Ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta with homemade tomato sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Pasta, tomatoes and ricotta are the main ingredients in this simple but delicious Southern Italian filled paccheri recipe. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Campania, Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: baked pasta recipe, paccheri, ricotta, tomato sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 12-16 paccheri ridged or smooth
  • 500 g tomatoes (17oz) San Marzano or Piccadilly are good tomatoes to use
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 300 g tomato passata (10 oz) I prefer Cirio'rustico' which is chunkier
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • peperoncino flakes as required
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
For filling
  • 400 g fresh ricotta (14oz)
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or grana (2oz) grated
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.

Make tomato sauce
  1. Peel the garlic. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water and peel them. Cut into smaller pieces.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the garlic cloves. When they start to soften add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes soften then add the passata and peperoncino (if using). 

  3. Stir and simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove the garlic when the sauce is ready.

Make the filling
  1. While the sauce is cooking, make the filling. Put the ricotta in a bowl with most of the basil torn into pieces (don’t use a metal knife on basil as it will turn brown) Mash the ricotta with a fork or use a hand held blender until the ricotta is quite creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

  2. If your ricotta seems to have a lot of liquid, drain it through a muslin or cotton cloth before making the filling.

Finish the dish
  1. Cook the paccheri al dente and drain. Run some cold water over the pasta to stop it cooking further and to make it easier to fill. Spread some of the tomato sauce over the bottom of an oven dish. 

  2. Use a teaspoon or piping bag to fill each pasta tube. Then place the paccheri side by side in the oven dish on the tomato sauce. 

  3. Once you have filled all the paccheri, sprinkle with some grated parmigiano and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 until the ricotta and parmigiano start to melt. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with more of the tomato sauce.

Recipe Notes

To save time you can make this recipe with a ready-made tomato sauce. However, I think homemade is always worth the bit of extra time it takes.

This recipe can be made with other pasta tubes such as rigatoni but they aren't as big as paccheri and are more difficult to fill.


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ricotta and basil filled paccheri pasta


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  • Avatar
    February 4, 2019 11:07 pm

    Yum! I love pasta in all shapes and sizes and this one is no exception! This would make a great valentine’s dinner!

  • Avatar
    Krista Price
    February 4, 2019 10:01 pm

    There’s something so rustic yet elegant about Mediterranean flavors. I absolutely love every single one of your recipes!

  • Avatar
    February 4, 2019 9:15 pm

    Wow, i haven’t heard stuffed pasta before…this looks delicious and I love to make the sauce from scratch

  • Avatar
    February 4, 2019 7:02 am

    I have to declare that I’ve never tried Neapolitan paccheri pasta before. Thank you for the tip – I will start my Neapolitan journey right here and right now!

  • Avatar
    February 4, 2019 7:00 am

    I can say with 100% certainty that I have a weakness for Mediterranean flavors. Everything about them makes me hungry. Can’t wait to try this paccheri pasta now!

  • Avatar
    Maman de sara
    February 4, 2019 1:08 am

    I had to google pacchiri pasta lol! This looks delicious

  • Avatar
    Cheese Curd In Paradise
    February 3, 2019 6:56 am

    Oh my! This pasta looks so good. I wish I could grab a bite with my fork thru my screen! I can’t wait to give this a try!

  • Avatar
    Anna Hettick
    February 2, 2019 8:05 pm

    OOHHHH I LOVE pasta with ricotta filling!!! Who am I kidding, I love pasta recipes of ALL kinds!!! But any kind of stuffed pasta has my heart!

  • Avatar
    February 2, 2019 7:03 pm

    Your pasta recipe always makes me hungry, even at 7am. Is it too early for ricotta pasta?

  • Avatar
    February 2, 2019 3:57 pm

    This looks so simple and delicious. We’re actually planning on a pasta night this evening, but I’ve been debating exactly what to make. Looks like I found the perfect recipe!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    February 2, 2019 10:50 am

    It’s too bad I can’t find many of these ingredients here, but maybe that’s a fantastic excuse to come to Italy! This dish looks so comforting and utterly delicious!

  • Avatar
    February 2, 2019 12:40 am

    This looks like the perfect pasta dinner to me. Hubby and I have decided that we are “eating in” on Valentines’ Day…and we are going to make a pasta dish together. This looks like it would work nicely into the plan.

  • Avatar
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    February 1, 2019 6:23 pm

    What a delicious looking dish! We are big pasta fans in my household so I can see this going down a treat.

  • Avatar
    February 1, 2019 6:14 pm

    Beautiful, clean, simple flavors! I could eat like this every night.

  • Avatar
    February 1, 2019 6:14 pm

    You gotta love a good Pasta dish! This looks so flavorful and delicious!

  • Avatar
    Tayler Ross
    February 1, 2019 5:51 pm

    You just can’t beat homemade tomato sauce! And that pasta looks incredible!

  • Avatar
    Beth Neels
    February 1, 2019 5:12 pm

    This looks so yummy! And easier than I would have thought! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Avatar
    Claudia Lamascolo
    February 1, 2019 5:12 pm

    I love this dish of pasta I sure would love to be eating this right now what great photos!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    February 1, 2019 4:33 pm

    Next time I’m at the store I’m going to look to see if they carry paccheri pasta from Gragnano or Naples. I kind of doubt that they do but I’m so curious now. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    February 1, 2019 1:32 pm

    Absolutely incredible! I love this dish, prob because it has ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese is the BEST. What a great recipe!

  • Avatar
    February 1, 2019 12:30 pm

    Best blog niche ever! Pasta for the win

  • Avatar
    February 1, 2019 12:10 pm

    This looks so delicious and simple to make. Pacherri pasta is new to me, should look out for it here.

  • Avatar
    January 31, 2019 7:14 pm

    Oh yes … this is what I want for dinner. I love such easy pleasures without a whole load of extra flavours – just good basic food.

  • Avatar
    January 31, 2019 6:38 pm

    Now this is comfort food. I love stuffed pasta!

  • Avatar
    Sally Humeniuk
    January 31, 2019 6:17 pm

    We love simple Italian meals and this is definitely going on my menu very soon! I love the perfect ingredients here. Nice photos, too!

  • Avatar
    January 31, 2019 6:04 pm

    Mmm…. this is my kind of a tasty lunch! And it has all my favorite ingredients! 🙂

  • Avatar
    January 31, 2019 5:39 pm

    I’ve never heard of paccheri pasta, but I’m sure I can find something to substitute (gluten free). There is nothing better than a homemade tomato sauce, though. This looks delicious.

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