We are a pasta loving family.
It’s part of our heritage. We have pasta dishes to fit every mood.
It can console us and it can help us celebrate. But mostly it just satisfies and nourishes us.
My younger brother, who was 6’3”in his late teens, could eat pasta three times a day and I heard stories that when he was in college at Marquette, he did! I’m not surprised because one time when he and I and our spouses were traveling in Italy together he would enjoy multiple pasta entrees, Primo and Secondo much to the dismay of the waiters. I, also, recall that when he was little he would ask for leftover pasta for breakfast. But one of his favorite leftover pasta dishes was a pasta pie which when he visited, I would indulge him in. Easy to make as the night before I would make sure to boil extra pasta, oil the naked strands and save for the next day. Such an easy dish to make him happy.
8-12 oz COOKED PASTA
2 TBS FRESH BASIL – torn
1 LINK ITALIAN SWEET SAUSAGE – about 12 oz
2 EGGS – lightly beaten
1/3 CUP RICOTTA – drained
8 oz FRESH MOZZARELLA – shredded
24-32 OZ PASTA SAUCE – homemade or store bought
ROMANO CHEESE – freshly grated for topping
HEAT OVEN TO 375-400º
Have your sauce whether homemade or store bought at room temperature. For this dish I like to use a homemade Arrabibata or spicy sauce to give it a little zing! But any of your favorites will do.
Cook the sausage in a skillet, breaking up the pieces until it is cooked and no pink is showing. However, don’t overcook and make it dry and crisp. Add your sauce and bring it to a slow simmer, adding the torn leaves of fresh basil. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes to be sure it is heated through.
In a large separate bowl, add the eggs and beat with a fork until frothy. Very slowly stir in some of the sauce, whisking as you do so that the eggs are nicely incorporated but not cooked. Add the rest of your sauce and stir. Add the pasta and toss well, using tongs, to incorporate and saturate it with the sauce.
I cook the sausage in a large cast iron skillet which I have not whipped clean so I return the pasta back to the skillet to bake.
Otherwise, transfer the pasta to a large cake pan or springform pan that has been lightly greased and mix in the shredded mozzarella. (Try not to get the mozzarella to close to the edges which will make it a little difficult to remove the pie from the pan as the cheese will stick to the edges.) Dollop the top with ricotta and swirl in. Top with a little extra mozzarella.
Bake until the center is hot, all the cheese has melted, and the edges just start to crisp. Then change oven to broil and broil just until the top starts to get golden brown – 3 to 4 minutes.
Let cool in the pan before serving.
Sprinkle a little freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese as you cut and serve.