Shepherd’s Pasta With Ricotta & Sausage

This is another one of those quick and easy pasta dishes that you can put together in the time it takes you to boil the water and cook your pasta. I’ve read many online sources describing this pasta, also called Pasta al Pastore, and it is claimed to have originated from Calabrian sheep herders who needed to make a quick, hearty meal with ingredients they have on hand.

This pasta dish only contains a few ingredients, so for the very optimum results you should use the best quality ingredients you can find. Ideally, homemade sausages, sheep’s milk ricotta, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese would be my first choices, but if not available, choose a good flavored Italian sausage, and fresh ricotta cheese.

I used an extra large fusilli pasta from Puglia for my version, but rigatoni, ziti, or fusilli pasta all work well. My bowls of pasta are garnished with chive flowers from my garden, but if you would like a little color, chopped fresh parsley works great too!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Shepherd'a Pasta

Shepherd'a Pasta

Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This pasta dish, also known as Pasta al Pastore is said to have originated in Calabria by sheep herders.


  • 1/2 Pound Fresh Mild Pork Sausage, Removed From Casings
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
  • 1 Pound Of Pasta (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive OIl
  • 1 Pound Fresh Ricotta Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

To Serve:

  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Additional Grated Pecorino Cheese


  1. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a heavy skillet, cook the sausage until lightly browned, breaking up the sausage meat with two forks as it cooks.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water to the skillet and keep warm over low heat.
  5. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  6. Return the pasta to the pot and add the olive oil and sausage over medium heat stirring to mix.
  7. Add the ricotta, and enough of the pasta water to loosen the ricotta so it coats the pasta and remove from the heat.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the 1/3 cup of grated Pecorino cheese.
  9. Serve the pasta in individual bowls, offering additional cheese and cracked black pepper at the table.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


  1. I made this for dinner last night. It was absolutely FABULOUS!! The flavors just blew me away. It will be in my “no time to cook” rotation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.