Chefs Plate: Italian Sausage Pasta Bake with Ricotta Cheese and a Baby Spinach Salad

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake with Ricotta Cheese and a Baby Spinach Salad

October 18, 2017:  For my 18th meal from Chefs Plate, I made an Italian Sausage Pasta Bake.  Chefs Plate is a meal subscription service that delivers fresh and local pre-portioned and pre-measured ingredients in chef-inspired recipes for you to cook at home.

This Italian Sausage Pasta Bake had a difficulty level of “easy” and had a prep time of 30 minutes.  This was a very good and straight-forward comfort dish to eat at home for those days when you are feeling for some Italian sausage and carbs. 🙂

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake delivery

Package of goods, recipe card, and meat

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake ingredients

All of the ingredients laid out with the recipe card

As I’ve made so many Chefs Plate meals at home now, this one involved very few steps; very simple.

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake nutrition information

Nutrition information

 Pork and ingredients

Canadian raised pork

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake recipe card

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake recipe card

First, you boil a pot of water for the pasta and slice the red bell peppers.

red bell peppers slice

Thinly slicing the red bell peppers

Heat the sausage and red bell peppers in a pot (or large pan like we did) and cook it.  Use a spoon to break up the Italian pork sausage and cook evenly.

drying pork sausage

Drying the Italian pork sausage with a paper towel before starting

The package included a carton of Italian crushed tomatoes (product of Italy!).  You add this and half of the red wine vinegar to the pot and stir and simmer.  When it is done, cover and reduce heat.

crushed tomatoes in a box

Italian crushed tomatoes in a box

 Italian sausage ragu in pan

Cooking up the Italian sausage ragu! So yummy!

Next, cook the pasta!  Add the fresh casarecce pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until it is firm enough (since it will later be cooked a bit more in the oven and with the residual heat).  Strain it and add it to a casserole dish.  The casarecce pasta was very fresh; my first time having/cooking this!

fresh casarecce pasta

Package of fresh casarecce pasta

 boiling fresh casarecce pasta

Boil until al dente

Mix the panko breadcrumbs, thyme, and one teaspoon of oil to create the breadcrumb mixture.  This was fun to mix.

 breadcrumb mixture ingredients

Mixing panko breadcrumbs, thyme, and oil

 breadcrumb mixture

Crunchy!

Layer the casserole dish with the pasta, Italian sausage ragu, dollop the ricotta cheese on top, and lastly sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over it.  Broil it in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes; mainly so that the top is golden.  This was my first time broiling something in the oven!  I learned that broiling means that the heat is applied from the top to the food.

 pasta in casserole dish

Putting the pasta into the casserole dish as the first layer. (Excuse my Asian cooking coasters XD)

 Ragu and pasta in pan

Second layer: Ragu!

 ricotta cheese on top of pasta bake

Dollop the ricotta cheese on top

 preparing pasta bake

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top

 pasta bake in oven

Into the oven it goes for no more than 5 minutes

While the masterpiece is in the oven 😉 , toss the spinach salad with the dressing.  The dressing was made with the other half of the red wine vinegar and oil.

Ta-da!  Serving time.

 Pasta bake

Done! 😀

 sausage pasta bake

Close-up. You can see the golden bits a little

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake on plate

Plated

I really liked this comfort dish.  There was a lot of the Italian Sausage Pasta Bake so I actually didn’t spoon the entire thing onto the two plates.  There was a lot of the spinach salad as well.  This was my first time having casarecce pasta and it was so swirly!  It was firm enough for my taste and didn’t break apart easily; it stayed intact in the pasta bake.

The Italian pork sausage was really fresh in the sense that it didn’t taste chewy or rough at all.  It was so nice with the ragu sauce.  Also, the breadcrumb mixture was nicely crispy from being broiled in the oven.  I could taste the thyme in the golden mixture.  It didn’t turn too golden but had a nice little crunchy texture to it.

I loved the dollops of delicious ricotta cheese in the dish too.  It really helped to balance out the acidity of the meat and ragu in the dish.  This meal didn’t feel too heavy at all despite it being a pasta bake dish.

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake for two

It serves two portions!

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake for two and leftovers

The total amount of pasta bake that was made

The spinach salad was plentiful and good too with the roasted pepitas and red wine vinegar dressing.

The portion was so large that I actually ate the leftovers another day for lunch.  It was perfect.

Yay to another successful Chefs Plate meal!

As always, you can try Chefs Plate for yourself for free if you live in Canada.  Click on this link to automatically get 3 free plates from the website to try (you can choose which ones you want — the recipes are different every week) or you can go to ChefsPlate.com and enter the code, #stenoodie, before you check out to get 3 plates for free.  Happy cooking! 🙂

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About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and a really silly person if you get to know me well enough. =)
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