Baked Sausage Mostaccioli


Most of the recipes I post are from my Sicilian friends and family.  Today I’m making one exception, my friend Jim McNeal’s recipe for baked mostaccioli.  Jim was so excited when he heard that I started this blog – he immediately offered his recipe to me.  It was such an honor that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it with you.  Shortly afterwards, my special friend was diagnosed with cancer.  Sadly, he passed away suddenly last week before he was able to see his recipe posted.

This is a great potluck dish because it feeds a large group of people.  I did make a few changes to Jims’ recipe, adding fresh garlic and herbs.  What I love best about this recipe is the addition of the grated lemon and orange zest which gives this pasta dish a lovely hint of citrus flavor.  This dish calls for a large amount of sausage, so if you are conscious about your waistline you can substitute ground beef for part of the sausage.  Use hot Italian sausage for some added kick.

Baked Sausage Mostaccioli 

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup tomato juice or chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound mostaccioli pasta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

MAKE THE SAUCE:  Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Brown sausage in a large frying pan, breaking up the meat into large crumbles as it cooks.  Make sure the sausage is well cooked and no pink remains.  Drain well and set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large covered pot, over medium-high heat.  Add carrot and onion and saute until onion they are soft and the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.  Stir in garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Add basil, parsley, thyme, orange, and lemon zest, and saute an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato juice, white wine, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in sausage, cover and continue to cook for 25 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

COOK THE PASTA:  While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add vegetable oil and pasta.  Cook until al dente and drain pasta.

ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE MOSTACCIOLI:  Butter a 13” x 9” deep casserole dish.  Combine the sauce and the pasta and spoon into the buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese and mozzarella.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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