Sagne Torte with Tomato Sauce.

Sagne Torte with Tomato Sauce Recipe from Puglia.

Sagne torte with tomato sauce

Sagne torte with tomato sauce and strong ricotta is a simple but delicious typical Sunday lunch recipe from Salento, Puglia in Southern Italy. The pasta is a twisted flour and water tagliatelle and the sauce usually made with fresh tomatoes or passata.

Sagne torte with tomato sauce Recipe from Puglia

Le Sagne Ncannulate.

Here in Italy, there are way more types of pasta than those most people are familiar with in other countries.  In fact, there are hundreds!  A lot of pasta types started life as a regional pasta. In other words, the shape was originally invented in a particular region, or even town, from where its popularity spread.  For example, spaghetti was born in Sicily and tagliatelle in Emilia-Romagna!

ingredients for sagne torte with tomato sauce on white plate

Some pasta types, however, never really gained popularity outside their place of origin. Consequently, these are almost exclusively made and eaten in certain parts of Italy. Examples of this are fregola from Sardinia and busiate from Sicily.  Sagne torte, also called sagne ritorte or ‘ncannulate’ in the local dialect, is another such pasta. This traditional twisted flour and water tagliatelle is traditional in Puglia, particularly Salento.  Even though a dried version is available, it’s also mostly only available in shops in Puglia.

fresh ripe tomatoes in hot water in white bowl

The first time I ate sagne torte was in Salento last summer. We had this pasta in a restaurant. There, they made it with swordfish and eggplant. Of course, it was seriously delicious. Before returning home, I bought some of this pasta to cook myself. So, this is the what I used for this sagne torte with tomato sauce recipe.

peeled, deseeded and chopped tomato pulp in white bowl

A typical Sunday lunch recipe.

This recipe is actually the most traditional one in Salento for this type of pasta. It’s also a typical Sunday lunch dish because most people make the pasta at home themselves.  Consequently, it’s not a weekday meal, even though the sauce is pretty simple. However, it’s also popular to serve sagne torte with meatballs. In addition, I have found recipes for this pasta with mussels, horsemeat ragu and with chickpeas. All of these are typical pasta condiments in this part of Italy too.

chopped fresh tomato pulp in skillet with garlic and olive oil

Making the tomato sauce.

I used fresh tomatoes and passata. You can choose to include one or the other or both, depending on what you have available. Apart from the tomatoes, this sauce has just some basil and garlic. Some recipes call for onion instead. But, my Sicilian hubby prefers garlic in his tomato sauce. You can use either. Italians rarely use both together in a simple sauce.

tomato passata and cooked fresh tomato pulp in skillet with garlic and olive oil

The ricotta cheese.

In Puglia, they serve this sagne torte with tomato sauce with a strong aged ricotta. Many recipes call for ricotta Marzotica. This is a typical product from the province of Lecce. It’s made at the beginning of the spring, from February to April, when the herds produce the tastiest milk thanks to the tender forage.  

ready tomato sauce with basil leaves in skillet

The name ‘Marzotica’ refers to the month during which the cheese is mainly produced. In Italian ‘marzo’ means March. Ricotta Marzotica is made with sheep, goat, cow’s milk or a mix. It’s usually cone shaped and  has a soft wrinkled rind and is quite crumbly. This is the cheese I used.

grated ricotta Marzotica in white bowl

Other cheese you can use.

Another local ricotta used with this recipe is just called ‘ricotta forte’ or strong ricotta. This is typical throughout Puglia. It is made from October to May using sheep or cow’s milk. This ricotta is creamy, pale yellow in colour, with a spicy pungent flavour and a strong odour. Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) is a third cheese from Puglia (and other parts of Southern Italy) that goes well with sagne torte with tomato sauce. However, if you can’t find hard ricotta, then you can use Pecorino or even aged feta.

cooked sagne torte in skillet with tomato sauce

I used dried sagne torte that I bought in Salento. As I mentioned above, this pasta isn’t so available outside of Puglia. So, making it myself is on my to-do list. In fact, given that there’s a shortage of pasta in many places right now, I think it’s a great time to start making more homemade pasta. Lasagne sheets are the easiest to start with. Simple flour and water pasta like cavatelli are pretty easy to get the hang of as well. You can see sagne torte being made with meatballs in Puglia in the Pasta Grannies video below. I love how ‘springy’ this pasta is!

sagne torte with tomato sauce

Of course, you can use other pasta types with this homemade tomato sauce. For a more authentic result, I’d go for other twisted shapes like long fusilli or busiate!  However, pasta with tomato sauce is a staple here in Italy and Italians make it with all kinds of pasta!

Sagne torte with tomato sauce Recipe from Puglia.

If you do make this sagne torte with tomato sauce and strong ricotta, I’d love to hear how it turns out. 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!

Other recipes with tomato sauce.

  1. Spaghetti with the best tomato sauce ever
  2. Calabrian ricotta balls in tomato sauce
  3. Pasta with homemade tomato sauce and ricotta
  4. Pasta with tomato sauce allo scarpariello recipe from Naples
  5. Orecchiette with meatballs in tomato sauce

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sagne torte with tomato sauce
5 from 32 votes
Sagne torte with tomato sauce Recipe from Puglia.
Sagne Torte with Tomato Sauce Recipe from Puglia.
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 

Sagne torte with tomato sauce and strong ricotta is a simple but delicious typical Sunday lunch recipe from Salento, Puglia in Southern Italy. The pasta is a twisted flour and water tagliatelle and the sauce usually made with fresh tomatoes or passata. You can use other types of pasta, of course!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Southern Italian
Keyword: puglia, ricotta, sagne, sagne torte, tomato sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 400 g sagne torte pasta (14oz) you can also use other long pasta like long fusilli, tagliatelle or busiate
  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes (2lbs) or passata. I used half and half (tomatoes + passata)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste
  • strong ricotta as required. I used ricotta Marzotica. You can use ricotta salata or pecorino
Instructions
Prepare the ingredients
  1. Blanch the fresh tomatoes in hot water and then remove the peel and seeds, leaving only the pulp. Cut the pulp into pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and wash the basil.

Make the sauce
  1. Put the extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan or skillet with the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes at most until the garlic softens slightly. Then add the pieces of peeled fresh tomato. Cook until the tomatoes soften and then add the passata if you are using both. Add 4-5 basil leaves torn into pieces and a little salt. Continue cooking the sauce for about 15 minutes over a low-medium heat, giving the tomatoes time to soften and form a sauce.

Finish the dish
  1. In the meantime, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Once it starts to boil add salt and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Homemade pasta will cook a lot more quickly than dried.

  2. When the pasta is ready drain it and add to the tomato sauce. Mix everything together well and cook together for another minute.  Some people add some of the ricotta to the pasta and sauce while it’s still in the pan. I added it after plating. Serve immediately with more grated ricotta and freshly ground black

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made with other types of pasta such as tagliatelle, long fusilli or busiate. The tomato sauce can be made with just fresh tomatoes, just passata or a mixture of both as I did.

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65 Comments

  • Avatar
    Christy Boston’s Kitchen
    May 7, 2020 3:52 pm

    I had no idea that you can sub in aged feta for ricotta. I’ll have to try this in this recipe. I learned something new today!

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      May 7, 2020 8:12 pm

      Thanks for your comment Christy. Yes, you can sub aged or salted ricotta with aged feta. I’ve done it myself. It’s actually very good!

  • Avatar
    Emily
    May 6, 2020 12:06 am

    Your pasta recipes are always so delicious and this one is no different! Love the addition of a strong ricotta- Yum!

  • Avatar
    Lathiya
    May 5, 2020 10:41 pm

    Such a lovely and simple recipe with flavor-packed. I love such recipes with minimum ingredients.

  • Avatar
    Nicole
    May 4, 2020 7:32 am

    I’m a sucker for unusual pasta shapes, and this one is simply gorgeous! I must say, I love reading your posts – I always learn so much about regional pastas and simple things like Italians only use either garlic or onion in a simple sauce, not both!

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    May 4, 2020 2:37 am

    Thanks for another great pasta dish! The ingredient list is so simple, but it turns out so flavorful and delicious. I can’t wait to make this again.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:33 am

      Simple recipes often make the most delicious dishes!

  • Avatar
    Alexis
    May 3, 2020 11:18 pm

    OH these noodles, they are amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. My family loved it.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:33 am

      I am glad to hear that, Alexis!

  • Avatar
    Gail Montero
    May 3, 2020 8:59 pm

    This delicious and hearty pasta dish is so perfect for using fresh and bountiful summer tomatoes!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:39 am

      It is perfect for using tomatoes and basil from the garden – and garlic if you happen to grow that too!

  • Avatar
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    May 3, 2020 8:33 pm

    THis is so good! The flavors in the tomato sauce are perfect and I’ve never tried this type of pasta before. SO delish.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:39 am

      Great to hear that you enjoyed it, Julie!

  • Avatar
    Elaine
    May 3, 2020 6:42 pm

    I am so glad I’ve stumbled upon this recipe on Sunday. I was going to make something similar for dinner, just wasn’t sure what exactly. I am now. And thank you for the tip on the cheese types, very helpful.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:40 am

      I am very happy that you found the recipe, Elaine!

  • Avatar
    Marisa F. Stewart
    May 3, 2020 6:21 pm

    I love the shape of that pasta — Hubby and I are going to have to duplicate it. And the cheese you put on it sounds amazing. I’m going to search for it because I HAVE to make this recipe ASAP. I haven’t been to Puglia yet but I hope to one day. Until then, I’ll sample some of their dishes.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:41 am

      I hope you find it, Marisa!

  • Avatar
    Sondra Barker
    May 3, 2020 9:11 am

    Wow, every pasta recipe you post looks delicious, and yet again so does this one! Definitely need to try it.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:43 am

      Thank you, Sondra! I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Alena
    May 3, 2020 6:20 am

    Your recipes never disappoint! This tomato sauce is so hearty and flavorful – I love the addition of ricotta in it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:43 am

      Thank you, Alena!

  • Avatar
    Marta
    May 3, 2020 4:52 am

    If THIS is a typical Sunday lunch in Italy, then I’m living in the wrong country! This looks so delicious and simple. I want to be an Italian!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:45 am

      I hope you try the recipe, no need to be in Italy to eat wonderful Italian food!

  • Avatar
    Paula Montenegro
    May 3, 2020 1:29 am

    I had never heard about this pasta but, as usual, you have great recipes! Love how simple and perfect it is. Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:45 am

      Thank you, Paula!

  • Avatar
    Leslie
    May 2, 2020 5:37 pm

    I love you that you are giving some of these hidden pasta recipes some exposure! We need ALL the delicious pasta recipes! 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:47 am

      You can never have too many pasta recipes!

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    May 2, 2020 12:10 am

    I have made this yesterday for my two teens and OMG what a hit! I must make it again or I will be in trouble now. A truly delicious pasta recipe, so simple and easy to put together. I would give it 6 stars if I could easily. scrumptious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:47 am

      Thank you, Ramona! I am so happy it was a hit!

  • Avatar
    Tammy
    May 1, 2020 6:48 pm

    What a beautiful and simple dish! This looks wonderful and perfect any night of the week!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:48 am

      Thank you, Tammy!

  • Avatar
    Amy Liu Dong
    May 1, 2020 11:52 am

    For me any pasta recipe that I’ve encounter will definitely leave a good impression in my taste as this kind of food is my all time favorite. I love how you’ve created this recipe, it looks so delicious and very enticing.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:48 am

      Thank you, Amy!

  • Avatar
    Alpa
    May 1, 2020 2:52 am

    Love all your pasta recipes and this one sounds great as usual

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:49 am

      Thank you, Apla!

  • Avatar
    Andrea Howe
    April 30, 2020 10:13 pm

    I loved the simplicity of these ingredients. And using fresh tomatoes in the sauce makes a world of difference. Simply delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:53 am

      If you have fresh tomatoes, absolutely use them! The recipe is flexible, so you can use what you have.

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    April 30, 2020 5:16 pm

    Those pasta swirls are almost too pretty to eat, but only almost, as I would devour this in a sec!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:57 am

      Almost, but not quite!

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth Newman
    April 30, 2020 1:11 am

    Literally, after I look over one of your recipes I’m always left drooling.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:58 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth!

  • Avatar
    Nart at Cooking with Nart
    April 29, 2020 12:45 pm

    This looks delicious and comforting. Think I’m gonna make this Friday night!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:59 am

      I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Saif
    April 29, 2020 7:59 am

    This Pasta looks absolutely delicious. I love when you add the ricotta cheese. I am craving for pasta now.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 5:00 am

      I love ricotta cheese too! I hope you get to try the recipe soon!

  • Avatar
    Beth
    April 29, 2020 7:03 am

    This looks so simple yet delicious. Plus, I’m so used to including onions with garlic in savory dishes, it never occurred to me to use one of the other in a sauce for pasta!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 5:01 am

      Thank you, Beth!

  • Avatar
    Felicia Austin
    April 29, 2020 4:54 am

    Wow I learn so much from you especially about all the different kinds of pasta! I never knew there were so many and you make me want to try them all lol

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 5:01 am

      There are always more pasta types to discover!

  • Avatar
    Lesli Schwartz
    April 28, 2020 11:02 pm

    I just loved visiting Puglia a few years ago. This recipe brings back such great memories! There’s nothing like a simple, classic Italian recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 5:02 am

      Puglia is beautiful. I am glad the recipes bring back wonderful memories for you!

  • Avatar
    Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    April 28, 2020 10:39 pm

    Such a simple and classic dish. Perfect for a quick meal served with a small salad and warm, crusty bread. Thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:55 am

      That sounds like a perfect meal, Lori!

  • Avatar
    Rochelle
    April 28, 2020 4:39 pm

    I can’t wait to make this for my family. It looks so delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:53 am

      Thank you, Rochelle. I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Amy
    April 26, 2020 9:33 pm

    This is such a simple classic dish, I love the sound of it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 3:37 am

      Thank you, Amy. The simplicity of the dish makes it a great choice for an easy but delicious meal.

  • Avatar
    Anita
    April 26, 2020 9:25 pm

    This was such a delicious pasta dish, definitely a must for people who love pasta with tomato based sauce. I feel like I’ve learn more about pasta from you than from any other sites combined! 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 3:39 am

      That really is a compliment Anita, thank you!

  • Avatar
    Sunrita | Spiceitupp
    April 26, 2020 9:15 pm

    I am a firm believer of simplistic cooking and most traditional food are really that. this recipes sure ticks all boxes! Thanks so much for this.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 3:41 am

      That is very true Sunrita. There are so many beautiful and traditional recipes to try!

  • Avatar
    Jen
    April 26, 2020 8:17 pm

    This dish is fresh and comforting all at once. Classic foods like this never go out of style and are favorite with my family.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 3:41 am

      Thank you, Jan. In my home they are favourite too!

  • Avatar
    Jordin
    April 26, 2020 7:59 pm

    Wow this looks so comforting and easy to make! I need to try it out!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      April 27, 2020 3:42 am

      Thank you, Jordin.

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