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pasta rustica

October 1, 2008

I took out some tortellini and some Italian sausage.  The last time I made this soup.  Today I baked it, a la lasagna. 

It was super good.  (I am looking forward to taking a Food Writing course in November to enhance my lame adjectives).  I mean, it was soft and creamy and delectable.  The combination of tortellini and Italian sausage is a winner.  And the base sauce with all that basil, oregano, garlic and parsley?  (The fresh herbs are a must.  I think that’s the key). That’s where the rustica in pasta rustica comes from.

Here’s the recipe, as adapted from Bon Appetit, circa 2004.   I didn’t have olives so I substituted capers.  I doubled the sauce and baked the whole thing in the oven.  And I threw in three browned Italian sausages for good measure.

Pasta Rustica

1 family size dried cheese tortellini
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 container of soft mozza, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 Italian sausages, browned and sliced
handful Parmesean cheese

Cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in 2 fry pans over medium-high heat.  In one, cook the Italian sausages until no longer pink.  In the other, add onion; increase heat to high and sauté until onion is beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add wine, then parsley, basil, capers, and oregano. Cook 4 minutes, stirring often.

Grease a lasagna pan.  Add the cooked tortellini, tomato sauce and Italian sausage.  Add the mozza and parmesean cheese.  Mix in pan.  Put foil over top.  Bake at a 300 degree oven for 1 hour.

Add cooked tortellini; toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve.



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