July 2, 2008

Five Ingredients or Less

This is one of my favorite 'go-to' meals, or as I like to call them, Pantry Pleasers. I generally have all the ingredients on hand in my dry, frozen & fresh pantries.

I realize there are probably hundreds of versions of this out there, but here's mine.

Baked Penne

1 lb. penne rigate pasta
1 lb. loose chicken sausage
1 jar pasta sauce
1 small tub (1/2 large tub) ricotta cheese
2-3 c. mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese
pats of butter for the top

1. Boil four quarts water. Salt heavily. Add pasta & cook according to package directions.
2. While water is coming to a boil/pasta is cooking, heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook 'til evenly browned.
3. Add jar of pasta to sausage, bring to simmer.
4. When draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick for your taste. When pasta is drained, return to pot and cover. (Don't return this to the hot burner though, or your pasta will stick to the bottom!)
5. Add ricotta cheese and 1 c. mozzarella to chicken/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
6. Add chicken/sauce/cheese mixture to pasta. Mix well.
7. Dump pasta/sauce mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish (I spray mine with cooking spray, but this step is not necessary).
8. Cover with remaining cheese. Add Parmesan & pats of butter if desired.
9. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top.
This freezes well and also makes fabulous lunch left-overs!

For a more descriptive, photo laden version of this recipe (with a cute recipe card), click here.