Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta

This hearty pasta dish is studded with chunks of Italian sausage and mixed with a quick garlic-infused tomato sauce. It's then topped with dollops of fresh ricotta and a sprinkling of both mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, which form a cheesy layer as the pasta bakes.

Slideshow:More Baked Pasta Recipes

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 3 cups Creamy Ricotta
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, water, sugar, bay leaf and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic, mash it to a paste and stir it back into the sauce; discard the bay leaf.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage to the pasta, then add 1 cup of the tomato sauce and toss to coat the penne.

  3. Spoon the pasta into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the pasta and dollop large spoonfuls of the Creamy Ricotta on top. Gently fold some of the ricotta into the pasta; don't overmix—you should have pockets of ricotta. Scatter the mozzarella on top and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake the pasta for about 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden on top. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The baked penne can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Rewarm before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Rich and rustically Italian, this classic dish pairs well with an equally rich Italian red, especially one with a touch of spiciness. Primitivo, a southern Italian grape known as Zinfandel in the U.S., is a great choice.

Contributed By Photo © Tina Rupp Published November 2008

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474880 recipes/baked-penne-sausage-and-creamy-ricotta 2013-12-06T23:10:30+00:00 Maria Helm Sinskey master-cook|holiday-open-house|italian|casseroles-and-gratins|pasta-and-noodles|8|make-ahead november-2008,Maria Helm Sinskey,baked penne with sausage,ricotta cheese,Italian food,pasta recipe recipes,baked-penne-sausage-and-creamy-ricotta 474880

Aggregate Rating value: 4

Review Count: 789

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: FlorAngel

Review Body: What a scrumptious meal. I love how fun and accessible you make the cooking procedure. Fantastic recipe!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-06-26

Author Name: 711Christel

Review Body: I can't wait to try this recipe. This looks absolutely delicious!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-06-26

Author Name: Jay Jordan Mercado

Review Body: not bad...i added a little more sugar

Date Published: 2016-06-25

Author Name: Ursula M.

Review Body: This was very good, but it was slightly overbaked after 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Next time I'd keep a better eye on it and take it out when it started bubbling. I think that would be even better.

Review Rating: 4

Date Published: 2016-11-22

Author Name: shoeman26

Review Body: That's not low in fat but still extremely very delicious-looking. I might do the same but I'll use beef instead of sausages

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-06-26

Author Name: Deirdre Chadwick

Review Body: Well, this recipe is way over-complicated to produce what is essentially fast and filling weeknight fare. Mince the garlic and forget about it; when pasta is cooked and ready, simply toss with the sauce - no need to separate the sausage and mix in two stages. I used about half the ricotta which seemed plenty. Next time I will add a 6 oz can of tomato paste to the somewhat thin and lacklustre sauce.

Review Rating: 3

Date Published: 2016-11-30

Author Name: TheJoeC

Review Body: The ingredients really get to the point. Great recipe! It's delicious and easy to make.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-09-04

Author Name: Tami L. Conklin

Review Body: I Made This and It Was Fabulous...Simple Comfort Food

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-10-20

Author Name: Christin Kuck

Review Body: This was pretty good.  I was looking for a recipe that used penne, and ricotta and stumbled across this recipe.  I made a couple of changes because of dietary restrictions.  I'm trying to watch my cholesterol and weight, and I'm gluten intolerant.  I used my own marinara I've been making for years, and used turkey Italian sausage instead of pork.  The penne I used is made with brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth.  While the carbs are the same as traditional penne, the nutritional values are higher as well as dietary fiber.  I don't know what creamy ricotta is.  I thought ricotta is ricotta is ricotta.  I used part skim ricotta.   I also added sauteed green and yellow pepper for some extra flavor and nutritional value.  I took the advice of other posters by turning my oven down to 375, and baking for 40 minutes, but then I did halve the recipe since I only had three mouths to feed.  The family enjoyed it, which is not an easy task when you have a husband who grew up with an Italian mamma.  I liked it okay.  It wasn't much different than the baked ziti I've made in the past.  I definitely liked how the ricotta came out by folding it in so there were pockets of cheese.  That was innovative.  I'll probably make this recipe again.

Review Rating: 4

Date Published: 2017-01-20

Author Name: jatrell08

Review Body: Use fresh Italian parsley. Great recipe I also use 1/2cup Italian wine in my sauce. And if you want low carb use whole wheat penne still taste great! 

Date Published: 2016-12-13

Author Name: theEarthChildx

Review Body: Too much carbs. I'll never eat anything that are loaded with mostly pasta, sugar and cheddar. Those things simply make you fat and ugly.

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2016-06-26

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