Baked Pasta with Sausage and Mozzarella (Pasta al Forno version 2).
I never imagined years ago that I would ever see the day that my son ( who is now 15), would ask for something other than pizza. A fussy eater early on, and plagued with diet restrictions, there was nothing I could do to get him to eat. The best advice I have ever had in my life, came from a Pediatrician in Italy who said, "Have you ever seen a nine year old eating Baby food?" I must admit, I was puzzled at the moment. Seemed a simple answer to a daily fight with one stubborn Italian boy. One day, around the age of Nine he came flying down staircase, running into the kitchen trying to figure out where that wonderful smell of sausage was coming from. He came around. He said those words I will never forget and I waited so long to hear, "Mom, that smells delicious, can you make me some Pasta?" Much to my initial shock, I just couldn't hold myself up. Had to sit down and contemplate what had just happened. After years, of constant arguing over food, it had all come to an end. So I did what any person would do, I made pasta and never looked back. This is Max's favorite. I hope it's yours too.
For the sauce.
2 cloves of garlic diced
3 tablespoons olive oil plus one tablespoon vegetable oil
12 oz of ground sausage (without casing/ chopped)
2 teaspoons of salt
one teaspoon of black pepper
One cup of white wine
14 oz can of diced tomato's
one cup of water
One teaspoon of salt (If you are using unsalted tomato's for your sauce)
In a saute pan large enough to hold your sauce, heat your olive oil to medium and add your garlic. When your garlic is fragrant, add your sausage and brown. After about 7-10 minutes on medium, your sausage will brown. When your sausage is browned and about to stick to the bottom of your pan, add you white wine (one cup), and let boil away. This will take a few minutes until your liquid is all evaporated. At this point add a 14oz can of diced tomato's, one cup of water, salt, pepper, and let cook for approximately 15 minutes on medium low. Mix while cooking and your liquid will evaporate by half. At this point your pan should have a ring of oil around your sauce. This indicates your sauce is ready! In a separate pasta Pot, add your water and let boil. Add your pasta and cook for approximately 6 minutes. It is very important to under cook your pasta. It will continue to cook while in the oven, so don't worry.
For the Baked Pasta:
8oz of fresh mozzarella chopped up
12 oz of Rigatoni Pasta
Salt for the pasta water
1 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Cook your pasta until Al dente. Toss with 1/2 the sauce and pour into a baking dish. Add 1/2 your Parmigiano Cheese. Add the rest of your Pasta. Add your Mozzarella cheese across the top. Add additional sauce if you like. Add the rest of your Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover securely and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more.
Serve in deep Pasta Bowls. Get ready for seconds! Buon Appetito!