3 cups tomato sauce
1 pound spicy Italian sausages, removed from the casing and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons freshly chopped basil, divided
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound pasta - spaghetti or penne rigate
Suggested Wine Pairing: Elements by Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon
Bring 3 cups of tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat and add the sausage and half of the chopped basil. Stir well and cook for 30 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, pour the ricotta into a strainer over a stainless-steel bowl, and let it drain for 15 minutes.
Dispose of the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl, and mix the ricotta cheese left in the strainer with ½ cup of the grated Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Set the ricotta-Parmesan mixture aside.
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain it well, return it to the pot, and pour about 2 cups of the sauce-and-sausage mixture over it. Cook for 3 more minutes over medium-low heat, stirring well.
Serve the pasta in individual bowls, sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil, and top with a large dollop of the ricotta-Parmesan mixture. Bring to the table with the remaining sauce and the remaining grated Parmesan.
For a creamier look, pour half of the ricotta-Parmesan mixture over the cooked pasta and the sauce in the pot, then serve with just grated cheese and chopped basil on top of it.