Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta Recipe - Maria Helm Sinskey | Food & Wine

Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta Recipe - Maria Helm Sinskey | Food & Wine

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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2

    garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1

    pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed

  • One

    28-ounce can tomato puree

  • cups water

  • teaspoons sugar

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground fennel

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1

    pound penne

  • 3

    cups Creamy Ricotta

  • ½

    pound fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • ¼

    cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


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. 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 Creamy Ricotta on top. Gently fold some of the ricotta into the pasta; dont overmixyou 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.


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