Wow – that certainly is a fancy-pants title for a simple baked pasta dish, isn’t it? I feel as though I should be formally attired and sip my wine “pinky-out” while partaking in this:
Truthfully, this was one of those last minute dinners that worked perfectly, as I (conveniently) had everything in the house …..but I can’t take credit for it. I mean, I can take credit for the photo and the food, but the idea came from my daily email via Food and Wine.
It was delicious though…..even without the formal attire….
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
Two 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I buy the kind with basil added)
1 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne
2 cups fresh ricotta1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
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.
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 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.