Sausage and Three Cheese Baked Penne

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This time of year calls for a good cheesy baked pasta. That and I made mass quantities of ricotta cheese and am looking for ways to use it up!

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Smoked Sausage and Three Cheese Baked Penne

  • 1 lb dried penne
  • 1 1/2 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 2 x 28 oz. canned tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 anchovy, packed in oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • Salt to taste

Grease 2 9×13 inch baking dishes and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

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In a large pot, heat half the oil over medium high and add the remaining oil and add the onions, garlic and anchovy. Break up the anchovy and cook until onions are translucent and add the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf, chili flakes and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce temperature to low and simmer while you prepare the pasta.

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In another large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the box until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid and drain pasta.

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Add half the cooking liquid to the tomato sauce and stir through. Adjust for salt and pepper and remove the bay leaves at this point. Add the pasta to the sauce and coat. The sauce should be a bit runny. If it is too thick add a bit more pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. Divide half the pasta across the two baking dishes and sprinkle with 1/3 the cheeses. Spread the remaining pasta over top and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake the pasta for 40-45 minutes until the tops are brown and the moisture has been absorbed. You could bake one and freeze the other.

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Serves 8-10 people

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