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. 🙂
As I’ve made so many Chefs Plate meals at home now, this one involved very few steps; very simple.
First, you boil a pot of water for the pasta and slice 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.
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.
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!
Mix the panko breadcrumbs, thyme, and one teaspoon of oil to create the breadcrumb mixture. This was fun to mix.
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.
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.
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.
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 4 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, #freeplatesfromstenoodie, before you check out to get 4 plates for free. Happy cooking! 🙂