sausage pasta bake
i wish that i could be italian… making meatballs, homemade pasta and cannolis filled with marscapone cheese. but i’m not. i was, however, elated when i received “the italian issue” of the food network magazine a few months back. it was full of all things italian and made me a very happy italian wannabe.
anyways, this is a really fun dish to throw together. i thought that i was making it for two, by significantly cutting down the original amounts listed in the article. let’s just say that moderation isn’t my strong suit when cooking. i was going for a 8″ square dish, but it made enough for a 9×13″ pan and we had it for leftovers and lunch. a few times. it was still very delicious! this dish is also very customizable, based on your own personal tastes. my choices are in bold, below.
slightly adapted from: food network magazine
- 2 c pasta: farfalle, cavatappi, rigatoni, penne
- 1 tbsp evoo
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- 14 oz. can whole tomatoes
- tomato paste
- 1/4 c water
- 2 tsp basil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 c of one of the following:
herb sauce: freshly chopped basil and parsley
creamy sauce: ricotta
meat sauce: diced and browned pancetta
- 1 1/2 cups of pretty much anything you’d like:
pre-cooked meat/poultry: italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken, eggs
veggies: roasted red peppers, artichokes, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, spinach
- 1 c melting cheese and 1/2 c grating cheese
melting cheese: mozzarella, provolone, fontina, asiago
grating cheese: parmesan, pecorino, ricotta salata
- pre-heat the oven to 450°.
- bring a med pot of water to boil. cook pasta for 2-3 min. less than the label directs. drain.
- in a large skillet, heat evoo over med heat. add garlic and a pinch of pepper flakes. cook until garlic is golden. add the tomatoes/paste, crushing tomatoes with your hands as you add them. (it is messy, but adds a nice chunky tomato taste that is worth it!) invest in a red apron. add water, basil and sugar and simmer, uncovered until the sauce is thickened for about 15 min. or the amt. of time it takes to prepare the mix-ins.
- prep your mix-ins.
- add your choice of mix-ins to the sauce.
- toss the pasta with sauce and half of each cheese. spread in a greased 8″ square baking dish. sprinkle remaining cheese over pasta. bake, uncovered for about 15 min. or until browned.