December 2007: Pasta Rustica

Lynne McGee

This recipe is a hearty winter pasta. It's not vegetarian, wheat-free, or dairy-free, but it sure is good.

I asked Lynne McGee if I could use it for the column because it is a favorite here at Heartwood Cohousing. Lynne is one of our founding members and I have had many, many great meals cooked by her. In fact I just had one tonight and it was terrific. We usually serve this with a great big green salad and some good sourdough bread. Bring a glass of nice red wine to dinner, watch the snow softly fall outside the window and enjoy a really soul-warming meal.

Pasta Rustica
from, contributed by Lynn McGee of Heartwood Cohousing
Serves 15

4 Tbsp. oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds sausage (bulk or remove casing)

2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 lbs. penne pasta cooked al dente
30 oz. ricotta or cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oil and saute onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add sausage and cook until it is no longer pink. Add spices and tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Oil a baking dish. Toss the pasta, the sauce and the first two cheeses together. Top with Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve piping hot.