This dish is just another “dinner irl” example of how it doesn’t have to be difficult OR time consuming to get a delicious, filling and family-friendly meal on the table.
I actually didn’t love this one so much the first few times I made it – but Mike really enjoyed it, so I wanted to figure out where it was going wrong for me. To start, there wasn’t nearly enough cheese, but this was an easy fix (spoiler alert: I doubled it). Not so easy was the consistency. Much like my stuffed shells, I prefer baked pasta dishes to be on the drier side – with lots of crispy edges. But unlike the shells, twice-baking didn’t solve the problem, and the dish was still a little too “saucy” for me.
So I swapped the deep casserole dish I had been using for these individual dishes I had just picked up.
Perfect. Super cheesy, with lots of crispy edges. If you don’t have little dishes like these simply use a wider, more shallow pan to get the same results.
Don’t you love when the “fix” is nice and easy?
lightly adapted from Martha Stewart
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
8 ounces cavatappi pasta (or use your favorite gluten-free pasta for a perfect GF dinner!)
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and coarsely chopped
12 – 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sausage. Break up the sausage as much as possible and cook until nicely browned. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and discard the thyme.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add the broccoli rabe to the pot and cook for 15 seconds. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and add to the sausage mixture, stirring to combine. Fill each of four 16-ounce casserole dishes with half the pasta. Layer with half the torn mozzarella. Repeat. Top with the parmesan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven up to broil and continue baking till golden brown and bubbly, watching carefully to avoid burning. Let cool slightly and serve.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver