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Italian Sausage + Artichoke Stuffed Pasta with Arrabbiata Sauce

26 February 2011

 

Despite the lengthy list of ingredients and number of steps in the recipe below, novice chefs should not be at all discouraged – this dish is remarkably simple to prepare and is guaranteed to have your friends and family begging for seconds!

The original recipe – inspired by the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis – uses turkey rather than Italian sausage. I’ve made this recipe using both turkey and Italian sausage, and find that the fennel and anise seed in most American-brand Italian sausages adds a subtle spiciness and robustness to the pasta filling that considerably improves its flavor. For a lighter version, however, feel free to use lean ground turkey as a substitute.

The Homemade Tomato Sauce base to the Arrabbiata Sauce can be made in advance, refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

 

ITALIAN SAUSAGE + ARTICHOKE STUFFED PASTA WITH ARRABBIATA SAUCE

Serves: 6 to 8

12 ounces extra-large dry pasta shells

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 pound Italian pork sausage

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

8 ounce jar artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped

15 ounces ricotta cheese

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

5 cups Arrabbiata sauce (recipe follows)

1 1/2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese

 

1.   Bring a 5- to 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta shells and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.

2.   In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

3.   Add the Italian sausage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking the sausage into bite-sized chunks, until meat is slightly browned and cooked through (cooking time will vary). Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

4.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5.   In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled sausage-artichoke mixture with ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to fully incorporate all ingredients.

6.  To stuff shells, cover the base of a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce (recipe follows). Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of sausage mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish and continue filling remaining shells until baking dish is full, about 24 shells.

7.   Pour the remaining Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and sprinkle with freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Bake until shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprig of flat-leaf parsley.

 

ARRABBIATA SAUCE

Makes: 6 cups

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsley chopped

2 fresh garlic cloves, minced

5 cups Homemade Tomato Sauce (or store-bought)

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

 

1.   Heat olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2.  Add garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and red pepper flakes and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Dimi permalink
    2 July 2011 6:11 pm

    I have tasted today and was simply amazing!!! Well done!!!!

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