Creamy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic


I‘ve fallen in love with a married man!  Well, not really with HIM, but rather with the authentic Italian recipes that he prepares, as well as his TV show, Dolce Vita, filmed in Tuscany!

I’m talking about my obsession with the cooking methods of David Rocco, a Canadian-Italian who now lives with his young family in Italy.  David takes us on his escapades throughout Italy alongside some of his crazy Italian friends, and always speaks to them in Italian . . . he speaks in English during the cooking portions of the show.

Finally, after waiting for six months, his first cookbook that parallels the television show is once again available on the market.  I just received it last week and couldn’t put it down!  I have also pre-ordered his second cookbook which will be out this fall sometime.

So what to prepare for dinner today?  How about a new recipe that I can use up some of the baskets of cherry tomatoes that we harvest every morning?  Creamy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic.  I have a great recipe for roasted cherry tomatoes that has been prepared with positive reviews, Sweet Cherry Tomato Basil Pesto Sauce on Farfalle Pasta, but I’m always wanting to try something new.  Flipping through the Rocco cookbook, I found this recipe for orecchiette (little ears) pasta in a smooth, creamy, velvety cheese sauce.  I tweaked it quite a bit because my husband and I both found it to be just a little too bland for our taste buds.  So I doubled the tomatoes, added lots of garlic, and replaced the cilantro with basil from my garden.

It is simply delicious!  I highly recommend this recipe for all of you pasta and tomato lovers!


Creamy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic

What You Need:

  • 1 lb. box Orecchiette pasta
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 40 cherry tomatoes, washed, cut into halves (David Rocco used only 20 tomatoes)
  • 2 - 3 large garlic cloves, minced (my addition)
  • 30 leaves fresh basil, chopped (my addition, David Rocco used cilantro)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of the saved pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (my addition)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil a large pot of water.
  • Add a few tablespoons of salt.
  • Cook the orecchiette for about 9 minutes, just before the 'al dente' stage is achieved.
  • Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the oil and cook for a few minutes (3 - 5 minutes).
  • Add the minced garlic.
  • Add the chopped basil.
  • Add the pasta and ricotta.
  • Add the red pepper flakes
  • Use some of the saved pasta cooking water to make the mixture a little more creamy.
  • Blend everything well until the sauce is creamy and smooth.
  • Serve immediately.


(very adapted from David Rocco's Dolce Vita)

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  1. I can’t remember seeing a more appetizing pasta dish. It looks so delicious.

    I had to laugh at being in love with “another” married man.

  2. this is the best combination for sauce!

  3. I make this pasta all the time, now I cant wait to try this recipe sauce wow it sure looks great!

  4. Sure wish my tomatoes would grow faster! This looks positively gorgeous with the orecchiette and the cherry tomatoes. Wonder if grape tomatoes would work as well. Using the ricotta makes a creamy sauce so easy and delicious,doesn’t it? I’ll have to check out your new love interest, lol.

  5. Ciao!!! Hope you are doing well!! I’m getting hungry looking at this!!!

  6. I’m going to have to check out David Rocco now! This dish sound great Roz and very easy!

  7. Oh my goodness. That pasta looks out of this world amazing. I love the creaminess to it and adding in those tomatoes just bumped it up a notch in my book. So fresh and flavorful!

  8. I’ve not heard of David Rocco Roz but I never miss Lidia. She’s on our cooking channel Monday through Friday and she’s my favourite TV chef. I hope David’s show comes to our TV screens over here in Aus. Oh, and Lidia’s bakeware looks gorgeous. I’d love to get my hands on that.

    I’ve started growing cherry tomatoes and I’m going to try this recipe when they’ve grown. Thanks!

    Anne @ Domesblissity

  9. David Rocco and his television series are a favourite of mine. I had in mind to make a simple dish of fried spaghetti from his book from leftover pasta but I had none:D

  10. This beautiful dish has all the wonderful flavors of summer, and I especially like the orecchiette because the little ears hold the sauce so nicely.

  11. Wow Roz – This just looks soooo good.

  12. I just bought some orchiette! Shall have to try this – looks delicious. So, Roz, how many married men have you fallen in love with! (“just fell in love with another married man!”)

  13. This almost looks like Calamari!

    I might try it with Calamari and see how it comes out.

    Jim Dorchak

  14. Looks delicious! And I think the red pepper flakes sound like a wonderful addition to the original recipe!

  15. Love his show and the flavor combination in this dish – perfect with a glass of Barbera D’Alba! Also, could your photos be any more beautiful? I always love stopping by your blog – thanks for sharing:)

  16. WOW! Looks amazingly good:)

  17. I just LOVE David Rocco-almost obsessed, actually, he is cute, charming and the local Italian scenery makes me long for Italy again-love your blog!

  18. What a delightful pasta dish! And such beautiful photos :)

  19. Ciao Roz!
    I just found your blog and it’s so beautiful! I too have an Italian recipes blog mostly Napolitano recipes! Your pasta dish looks fo delicious, can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks, Anna :)

  20. rich pasta exquisite ingredients a well developed strong ppalto, hugs.

  21. oh ,i’m going to have to track doewn this show and cookbook, this looks beautiful!! anne

  22. Gorgeous dish and it looks divinely delicious! And absolutely loved those tomatoes in your previous post! Thanks so much for the great recipes!

  23. It sure does look good, Roz.

  24. Looks delicious. Rocco is great – he and his family live not far from us north of Toronto and he is often int he news. I see from his twitter feed that his second cookbook is coming out in October.

  25. I echo the many sentiments of how beautiful and delicious this is.

  26. Wow, Wow, Wow! I am so making this divine dish as soon as I can! Thanks for the recipe!

    Best wishes,

  27. My 4 year old has 2 cherry tomato plants right now – I will have to ‘borrow’ some from her so I can make this recipe! Thanks for linking to Fat Camp Friday, enjoy your weekend and see you next time!

  28. Hi Roz,
    What a great dish for us to use all our wonderful tomatoes and basil. Awh the freshness of summer. It looks delicious! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and sure hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  29. This pasta dish sounds just wonderful, Roz. I love cherry tomatoes (I like that you used more than the original recipe called for!) and basil. This looks like such a lovely summer supper or light lunch. Thank you so much for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul blog hop, and Let’s Do Brunch.

  30. Stunning and delicious sums it up. This is being featured tomorrow on Let’s Do Brunch. Thanks for sharing such a jewel with us.

  31. Oooo… I recognized Lydia’s casserole dish right away. I love them – can’t decide what color I want.


  32. I am making this for dinner tonight! I have so many bowls of ripe cherry tomatoes from my garden and this will be a perfect dish to use up those beautiful little gems. Thanks so much and I love your blog!!

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