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Maltagliati with zucchini over tomato sauce

We all pour tomato sauce over pasta, don’t we? If you browse through the Internet, you’ll find a lot of recipes with tomato sauce over spaghetti, or fresh tomato and garlic sauce over angel hair pasta, or creamy tomato sauce over penne pasta. I wonder why tomato sauce is always on top and…not in the bottom?

Why do we always take a top – down approach instead of a bottom –  up approach when it comes to tomato sauce and pasta?

This time I wanted to be “out of the tomato sauce on top” league. I wanted to mess up with the dish. I wanted my guests to have fun and give the final touch to their pasta dish.

Maltagliati with zucchini over tomato sauce


  •  400 grams of Maltagliati pasta
  • 500 ml of tomato sauce
  • 3 zucchini
  • 4 tablespoons of bread crumbs
  •  4 tablespoons of shredded Ricotta Salata (and 3-4 more tablespoons for plating the dish)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • some mint sprigs
  • some parsley sprigs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste


Ricotta Salata  is a cheese from Sicily made from sheep’s milk, and – unlike traditional soft, fresh, creamy ricotta cheese –  it is aged, dry, firm, and salty. Ricotta Salata is an alternative to Parmesan or Pecorino cheeses; therefore, perfect for grating and sprinkling over pasta dishes. If you cannot find Ricotta Salata, you can substitute it with Feta cheese.


Maltagliati literally means “badly cut”. It is a flat type of pasta, roughly cut into pieces from the scraps or leftovers of pasta dough that has been previously used to form other forms of pasta. Maltagliati pasta is often used in soups and traditional dishes such as pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans).


Dice onions thinly and cut the garlic clove into two halves. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add onions and garlic. When onions are translucent and garlic has a golden color, remove garlic, add tomato sauce and reduce heat to low. Cook until sauce is thickened. Add salt to taste and basil.

Note: You can prepare tomato sauce from scratch by using my tomato sauce recipe from my Eggplant Parmesan post.

Cut zucchini into small cubs.

In a skillet heat olive oil, add zucchini, and cook until golden. Add salt to taste.

Mince mint and parsley. Combine.

Following package instructions, cook Maltagliati in a pot over boiling water. When cooked, drain water from Maltagliati pasta, and transfer Maltagliati to the skillet. Add zucchini, bread crumbs,  mint and parsley mixture, and extra virgin olive oil to Maltagliati. Add Ricotta Salata cheese. Toss well

Place pasta sauce on the bottom of a bowl.

Carefully place Maltagliati pasta on top of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with extra Ricotta Salata cheese.

Serves 4.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stepping outside the box, I like that! And I like the way it’s presented, not dripping in sauce but just enough to swirl in the pasta as you take a bite. The idea of the diced zucchini is wonderful,topped with ricotta salata. Truly a great recipe!!

    July 18, 2011
    • Thank you!!! I agree with you, too much sauce dripping from pasta is not a good idea!

      July 19, 2011
  2. Wow, that looks good. I think it be easier to scoop up more sauce this way. I really want to try Ricotta Salata.

    July 18, 2011
    • Ricotta Salata is really tasty! If you cannot find it, a good susbtitute is feta cheese

      July 19, 2011
  3. It looks fantastic, and must taste delicious. I want to try Ricotta Salata, too. And I love the idea of using up all the odd shapes in the Maltagliati.

    July 18, 2011
    • Thanks! Maltagliati is very suitable for soups or recipes that include thick, hearty sauces

      July 19, 2011
  4. Can´t remember the last time I ate Ricotta Salata – many years ago. What a love combination of flavours and a great way of serving the dish. Your dishes always look so very lovely!

    July 18, 2011
    • Gracias Chica!!I I prefer using Ricotta Salata during summer since it is less aged that Parmesan or Pecorino cheeses. It adds a special flavor to pasta dishes!

      July 19, 2011
  5. Everyone of your recipes sound so good and the photos are so beautiful. I’m always hungry by the time I have finished reading. From now on I need to read your posts as soon as I have finished eating.

    July 21, 2011
    • Or I need to post my recipes after your lunch time or dinner time !!!!

      July 21, 2011
  6. What a great way to use zucchini! We have an overabundance at the moment! I love the idea of the sauce on the bottom!

    August 5, 2011
  7. I love the idea of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Makes for a very beautiful presentation and lets you see all the goodies with the pasta! Zucchini sounds like a great addition too

    August 23, 2011
    • Thanks for stopping by!!! That is an excellent observation!!!

      August 23, 2011

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