Here’s a great, family-friendly baked pasta dish: Pasta Rustica
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
One 28-ounce can tomatoes in purée, tomatoes coarsely chopped and purée reserved
salt to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in spices. Add tomatoes with purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer; stir occasionally until mixture thickens (10 to 12 minutes).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking dish with nonstick spray.
3. Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt water and add pasta, stir well and cook until al dente (10 to 12 minutes). Drain well.
4. In large bowl, toss pasta with sauce, ricotta and mozzarella. Spread into prepared dish and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until cheeses are melted and pasta becomes crusty on edges (about 30 minutes).
5. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
*Fontina cheese may be substituted for mozzarella.