Baked Penne with Sausage, Tomato and Cauliflower

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 1 hr 40 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
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Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the stock with the saffron in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a pot and season with salt. Add the cauliflower, cover and steam until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and break into florets.

Heat the EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and crumble it into very small pieces with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, tomatoes and saffron stock and stir to break up the tomatoes. Simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to just shy of al dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve a ladle of the starchy cooking liquid and drain the pasta.

Return the pasta to the pot. Add the heavy cream, cauliflower, sausage sauce and
a little of the reserved cooking liquid and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and top with the cheeses and parsley. Bake until the top is browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Divide among plates.

Cook's Note: The unbaked casserole can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Bake as directed before serving.

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Newest Ratings and Reviews

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  • on March 29, 2012

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    Really tasty! I used Italian chicken sausage to lighten it up a bit. I disagree with the bad reviews regarding it being "soupy." The directions say to let the sauce simmer UNTIL THICKENED. This took 50-60 mins on my stove. Also, under cooking the pasta will allow it to absorb more of the sauce as it bakes. If you like a thicker, more "tomatoey" sauce, I'd suggest adding 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste (mix it into the onion and garlic and let it cook for about a minute just before you deglaze with the wine. Instead of steaming a head of cauliflower, I used a steam-in-bag frozen broccoli/cauliflower blend and under cooked it by a minute or two. Then I chopped the par-cooked veggies into smaller pieces. I covered the casserole with foil and baked it at 375 degrees for 30 mins, then removed the foil and cranked the temp to 400 and let it bake another 15 mins to brown the top. I let it rest for 10-15 minutes once it was done baking. The whole family really liked it!

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  • on February 05, 2012

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    I loved it as well as my 11 year old daughter.....yes it's a little saucy...but what else would you do with your italian bread!!!!

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  • on January 23, 2012

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    Made this last night for dinner, we liked it. My husband really liked it, he said this was a do again. Thanks Rachael

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