Pasta Risotto & You

By Nancy Caivano


Baked Pasta with Sausage
and Four Cheeses

Serves 8—10



2 lbs. pasta (I prefer rigatoni with this dish,
   but any pasta shape will work)
1/4 cup pancetta, very thinly sliced
   (if you can't find pancetta, use regular bacon)
2-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, casing removed
   (hot or sweet, your preference)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
8 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced (variety your preference)
3 tbsp. julienne basil
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
3 lbs. ricotta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups grated provolone cheese
1-1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (or any blue cheese)
1 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1-1/2 cups grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until only halfway cooked, according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Toss with a minimal amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Cook pancetta (or bacon) in large skillet over medium heat until well browned, and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Add sausage to drippings in skillet and cook, breaking up large pieces, until well browned. Transfer to paper towel. Pour off all but 3 tbsp. drippings from skillet. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, basil and parsley. Cook until onion is tender, and mushrooms are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Spray a large baking pan well with cooking spray.

Place ricotta in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in cream. Stir in stock. Add pasta, pancetta, sausage, onion mixture, provolone, Gorgonzola, tomatoes, and 1 cup Romano. Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining Romano. Cover and bake 35 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until very golden brown, and bubbly.

You can change the cheeses to whatever cheeses you prefer. You can also add any vegetables you might want. Using a variety of mushrooms makes this dish fabulous. You can use any combination that you like.


Pasta, Risotto and You


This page created December 1998