Baked Pasta with Sausage and Four Cheeses

I received three cookbooks for Hanukkah (I am easy to shop for). One of them, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, I cooked from in a previous post. Today, I’m sharing a recipe that I made from the second one, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, by Frances Mayes & Edward Mayes, which my older son gave me for Hanukkah.

Tuscan Sun Baked PastaBaked Pasta with Sausage & Four Cheeses
From The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes & Edward Mayes
(with my own modifications in italics)
Serves 4-6
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 cup soffritto (recipe below)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, juice included, chopped
  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) whole milk ricotta
  • 8 oz. fontina, cubed
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, cubed
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted in dry sauté pan
Preheat oven to 375º. Bring the pasta water to a boil and add salt. Make the soffritto (recipe below). In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat and cook the sausage, breaking it up as it browns, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, turn the heat up to a boil, and cook until much of the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the oregano, soffritto, seasonings, and tomatoes along with their juices. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes, or until thick and savory.
Cook the rigatoni a minute less than the time required on the package (since it will continue cooking in the oven), then drain, reserving a bit of the pasta water.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta with the fontina and a splash of the pasta water, then add the drained rigatoni and continue mixing. Add the sausage mixture and mozzarella, tossing to mix well.
Oil a 9×13″ baking dish, and then pour in the pasta. Sprinkle the Parmesan and breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until golden flecked and hot.
This is my new favorite baked pasta, it is so yummy and comforting.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, minced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Sauté the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to color and turn tender, 5-7 minutes. Reserve until needed in the recipe above.

3 thoughts on “Baked Pasta with Sausage and Four Cheeses

  1. This sounds yummy! I was on the “ethnic food”aisle in Publix and saw sofrito in a jar. BTW, look on that aisle for seasonings..larger jars, lower prices.

  2. Pingback: Dinner from Jerusalem: A Cookbook | cuisinebysuzanne

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