Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Birthday Repast

Pasta Rustica (garnered from a Williams-Sonoma catalog)

2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes in puree, tomatoes coarsely chopped, puree reserved
Salt, to taste
1 lb penne pasta
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded fontina or mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 min. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite size pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes with puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil baking dish. Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat, salt the water, add pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente, 10-12 minutes. Drain well. In LARGE bowl, toss pasta with sauce, ricotta, and fontina. Spread in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until cheeses are melted and tips of pasta are crusty, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6-8.

I use a can of crushed tomatoes and it works just fine. Also, I never measure the spices, just toss in until it looks good. :)


  1. I just saw your comment re: Yo Gabba Gabba on Cake Wrecks - what a RELIEF to know somebody else thinks that show is terrible! (I would have replied to it on CW but I'm sure it would have started some sort of comment war, and those are never fun!)

  2. Alannah - yeah, I saw at least one snarky response pointed in my direction and I chose to ignore it because it's a blog about cakes - what's the point of a comment war?

    Yo Gabba Gabba scares me. Seriously.

    If you're curious (and it's fine if you aren't!) I've written about the weirdness of children's TV before:

  3. GAH! Kelly! Beaver! Grandma's special box! That's too funny - it's so bizarre what ends up in kids' shows. I just try not to have the TV on at all, if possible - which, let's face it, is rare. But the first (and only) time I saw Yo Gabba Gabba, I had train-wreck syndrome. I literally couldn't turn away. I've never seen anything so terrible, on so many levels. And it seems like a disproportionate number of shows run along this same vein, trying to recapture Teletubbies glory (and money-making potential) - In the Night Garden comes to mind (another show that immediately results in changing the channel)!

    Hope you don't mind, but I've linked to you from my blog!