January 17, 2011

Ricotta Pasta with Sausage

Saturday was Game Day! Game Day is a holiday in our household. Our day revolves around football and all things Steeler Nation. Don't you dare walk into our home without wearing your badge of honor. Black and Gold or get the hell out. Okay. That's not exactly how it is. You can get away wearing whatever you want as long as it's not our opponents gear.

Case in point, Mr. Sideline Chef's mother came by for a visit and since she does not follow sports and we enjoy her company we cut her some slack and welcomed her into the craze that becomes Game Day. Before her arrival I made the executive decision that I would prepare a meal for all of us but with Mr. Sideline Chef's help. After pulling out a cookbook and reading a few titles and a few "Not feelin' that," we finally settled on a recipe for Ricotta Pasta with Sausage.

Off to the supermarket dressed in head to toe Steeler's gear we made our purchases and raced home to get the meal ready before his mom's arrival. Just as the pasta was being tossed into the ricotta cheese, butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano mixture his mom knocked at the door.

We were able to sit down and enjoy our meal before kickoff. I'm sure she was overwhelmed with the f-bombs being dropped and the hollering at people who can't hear us. She kindly excused herself after thanking us for a delicious meal and a full belly and stepped back into the real world as she exited our home... where life doesn't revolve around football and all things Steeler Nation.

This pasta was so hearty and comforting and made for a perfect meal for Game Day. It's quick and easy to prepare and the clean up was a breeze. I've had macaroni and cheese a number of times but have never had a "mac n cheese" like this with ricotta cheese. I didn't even know if I would like the ricotta cheese. Let me tell you... it's a winning combination with the sweet Italian sausage... although... I would recommend using hot Italian sausage for more of a flavor boost and a kick.

Ricotta Pasta with Sausage
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
    This is the most I have EVER paid for a single ingredient... $14.99 for 13 oz
  • 1 lb penne or ziti rigate
  • salt
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped - I only ended up using half the onion since Mr. Sideline Chef doesn't prefer to have a lot of onion in his dishes and I second guessed myself. I think it would have been delicious with the full amount.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped - I used dried parsley.
  • black pepper
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn - I used dried basil leaves since that's what I had on hand.
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
And Action:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and salt the water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Place the ricotta, butter, and Parmigiano or Romano in a large bowl.
Pillowy clouds of ricotta cheese, butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and brown the sausage before adding the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the parsley and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta. Add to the bowl with the cheeses. Toss to melt the butter and evenly coat the pasta with cheeses, then season with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the basil and season with a little bit of salt. Toss and serve at the table.


Lisa said...

I love the family unity. Looks like you had a delicious game day.

Pretend Chef said...

Lisa - Thank you! Game Day was so delicious! We indulged on so much food.

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