This dish is AMAZING and a great hit with family and friends for a hefty brunch/lunch entree or a casual supper entree. My family LOVED it! I was sure to double the recipe next time I made it. Tastes great as warmed-up leftovers as well.
Yield: 4 servings, plus leftovers
- 1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
- 1 pound Italian bulk sweet sausage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian 4 cheese blend, available on dairy aisle
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), optional
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
Preheat broiler to high.
To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.
Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.