Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Baked Cavatappi

2014-06-19-14-02-06

I think everyone loves a baked pasta dish. Maybe it’s because it brings us back to a childhood memory, a special event where everybody gathers together to celebrate something special. Whenever I mention the words”taste the love”, it really shows how much love went into the making of my Baked Cavattapi.

Now, there’re a few different components to this recipe. This doesn’t mean it’s hard to do. You’ll see what I’m saying moving forward. The great news is that this dish can be made in advance, or even frozen when stored properly.

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Olive Oil

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Fennel

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Roasted Red Peppers

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Red Onion

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Are you feeling this? The whole house smells like my Nana’s kitchen.

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo With Sweet Italian Sausage (27)

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Mascarpone Cheese

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, deep-sided 1 (12-inch) deep-sided frying pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with lid, large mixing bowl, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients For The Meat:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound of lean ground sirloin
1 pound (5 links) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For the Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh basil, julienned
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients For Pasta:
1 1/2 pounds of Cavatappi (1 1/2 boxes)
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 (15-ounce) containers Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella, freshly grated, reserve 1/2 cup
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, reserve 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for the top
1 stick of unsalted butter, reserve half to *dot the top and half to grease the baking dish

Directions For Meat-Filled Tomato Sauce:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a 12-inch deep-sided frying pan, over medium-high heat, add of olive oil and whole fennel seeds cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. To the pan add both the ground pork and sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up all the meat. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Sauté until the meat is completely browned, around 10 minutes Using a slotted spoon to strain off any excess grease, transfer the browned meat from the pan to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In a mini food processor, add roasted red peppers, in batches if need be, process until all the peppers are puréed and have a crushed tomato-like consistency. Transfer the processed peppers to a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat a  Dutch oven, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Next, add the diced red onions, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried rosemary, tomato paste, and light brown sugar. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the spices are fragrant. Add the chicken stock. Simmer to reduce the stock by half. Finally, add both cans of tomatoes, breaking up the San Marzano whole tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Simmer the sauce on low heat for around 25 minutes. Add the browned meat to the sauce and allow to cook together for 1 hour more. Remove from the heat and add fresh basil, stir to combine.

While the sauce is simmering start the pasta.

Note: Undercook the pasta by 3 minutes according to the directions on the box. Pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the pasta, stirring occasionally. Undercook the pasta until just al dente, then drain. Using the same pot add back in the drained cooked pasta, Mascarpone cheese, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 1/2 ladles of the meat sauce, and chopped Italian parsley. Mix to combine.

First, butter the baking dish. To assemble, add 1 ladle of the meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Move the sauce around so it covers the bottom of the dish. Add a layer using half the pasta mixture. Top with half of the reserved Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Next, add half the meat sauce mixture spreading the sauce evenly over the top of the pasta. Repeat the process ending with the meat sauce on top.

For the top of the dish, sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses evenly all over the top. *Dot the top of the dish with small pieces of unsalted butter.

Tip: Before covering the dish, spray the underside of the foil with non-stick cooking spray so the aluminum cover will release without taking your cheese with it.

Bake covered for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes before cutting. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. There you have it my Baked Cavatappi.

Serve hot.

*Dot: to scatter bits of butter over food. Refer to the picture above.

2 Comments »

Baked Cavatappi

2014-06-19-14-02-06

If you love pasta like I do, my Baked Cavatappi will become a family favorite. The gooey cheese that runs throughout this dish, along with the hearty meat sauce that clings to every noodle. The meat sauce in my Baked Cavatappi is perfect to use in my Homemade Lasagna. Listen, I have to go now because we have to eat, YUM!

Baked Cavatappi

Homemade Lasagna

4 Comments »

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