My F&W
quick save (...)
Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta
© Tina Rupp

Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 15 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
  • MAKE-AHEAD

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.

  1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  3. 1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
  4. One 28-ounce can tomato puree
  5. 1 1/2 cups water
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
  9. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 pound penne
  11. 3 cups Creamy Ricotta
  12. 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  13. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  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.

You Might Also Like

Ratings

Average Rating

(11)

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.