Thread Number: 72307  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
From The Gray Haired Geek's Test Kitchen: NO-BOIL Baked Penne with Italian Sausage
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Post# 955796   9/2/2017 at 21:18 (288 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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Well, I've been bitten hard by the no-boil bug, so here's the latest from The Gray Haired Geek's Test Kitchen.  The texture is about the same as par-boiled, then baked pasta dishes, leaning slightly toward al dente.  Your colander and pasta boiler get the day off.
This is a cold-start recipe, so disable fast-preheat if your oven is so equipped.  The direct heat from the upper element/burner could shatter the glass lid of the casserole.  Alternatively, preheat and skip the post-heating phases.
Feel free to substitute homemade sauce, up to a quart and add enough water to allow the diluted sauce to flow easily into the uncooked pasta.

1 jar meat sauce
1 sauce jar of water
1 lb. uncooked penne
1 lb. shredded Mozzarella
1 package Italian sausage
nonstick cooking spray

Spray casserole, arrange sausage, bake from a cold start 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Leave in oven 15 minutes.

Rest the cooked sausages on a cutting board for an additional 15 minutes.

Slice each link into 8 slices.

In a large mixing bowl, combine uncooked penne with meat sauce and 1 sauce jar of water.  Stir about a minute to saturate the penne inside and out.

Fold in the shredded Mozzarella.

Spoon 1/3 of the mixture into the unwashed casserole.  Scatter 20 sausage slices over the mixture.

Repeat and top with last 1/3.  Poke any errant penne under the surface of the sauce.

At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated until baking time.  The penne will absorb liquid and swell slightly.

Bake covered from a cold start for 1 hour at 350 degrees F, leave in oven an additional 15 minutes, remove from oven and rest, covered, for 15 more minutes.

Sorry, forgot to take a picture before we ruthlessly attacked.

Shower with grated or shredded Parmesan or Parmesan/Romano blend.
And, yes, everything came from ALDI.
Mangia, mangia, amici!


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Post# 955800 , Reply# 1   9/2/2017 at 22:00 (288 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Looks delicious, Joe! Your avatar turned out well, too.

Post# 955806 , Reply# 2   9/2/2017 at 23:23 (288 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Sorry, no chicken or turkey is eaten by me unless it is a roasted stuffed bird and no variations. Sausage is pork only in this house.

Post# 955872 , Reply# 3   9/3/2017 at 09:00 (287 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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The sausage ingredients ain't chiseled in stone, ya know.

Post# 955899 , Reply# 4   9/3/2017 at 12:36 (287 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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this looks delicious! I too like to make pasta dishes that are no boil. I don't want to detract from your recipe at all, but I make a one pan meal very similar to yours. Only I do it on the stove in my 10" Farberware skillet.

Place skillet over med high heat, add 1 tsp. oil and about 2/3 to 3/4 cup diced onion, 3 cloves minced garlic and crumble on top 1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage, stir and brown the sausage, onions and garlic until sausage is browned. Add either 1 to 1 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (or 1 1/2 tsp basil and 1/2 tsp oregano), 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp black pepper, 2 -8 oz. cans tomato sauce and approx. 1/2 to 2/3 can full of water, wine or beer, stir well reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 mins, (or longer if desired). Now add 1 1/2 can to 2 cans of water and 2 cups large, uncooked pasta, (I like to use Penne), bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 mins. Remove lid, stir well, turn off heat, cover with 6 to 8 oz. either mozerella or jack cheese, sliced or shredded, cover and let it sit for 5 to 10 mins and serve. Makes 4 nice sized servings.

Note, since the sausage already has plenty of salt there is no need to add any additional salt. Also, I don't drain off the fat, the sausage I buy is very lean and the pork fat does give the dish lots of flavor and it is not greasy. But, pour the fat off if you like.

Now, I need to try your version. I'm always down with saving time and steps in the kitchen. And I really do think that pasta cooked in a thinner sauce, rather than pre boiling the pasta results a better tasting pasta.



Post# 955926 , Reply# 5   9/3/2017 at 14:23 (287 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Joe, thank you for the two recipes you've posted.  And Eddie I agree.


I know it's considered to be scandalous, but when I make lasagna, I've not boiled the pasta noodles in decades.  I just make everything extra "soupy", tightly cover with foil after assembly, and bake. 

Post# 956324 , Reply# 6   9/5/2017 at 20:22 (285 days old) by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        
I"m with you Bob

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With lasagna noodles, I don't pre-boil either. I find it redundant. A little extra sauce, and call it quits.

Post# 956325 , Reply# 7   9/5/2017 at 20:23 (285 days old) by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        
I"m with you Bob

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With lasagna noodles, I don't pre-boil either. I find it redundant. A little extra sauce, and call it quits.

Post# 956326 , Reply# 8   9/5/2017 at 20:25 (285 days old) by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        

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Sorry for the double post, I got interrupted!

Post# 956377 , Reply# 9   9/6/2017 at 07:38 (284 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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This looks great!!! Thanks for sharing this and I'm also an Aldi fan!

Post# 956391 , Reply# 10   9/6/2017 at 10:01 (284 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
How is that jar sauce?

I'm persnikety about my sugo. You know us dago's, A proper ragu should simmer for at least a couple hours.
Jar sauce does fine in a hurry though. I doctor it up with herbs and wine, mushrooms.

A ragu has meat. Marinara not. Bolognese' sauce usually has beef stock and wine.

I get a nice chuck roast, salt and pepper it, brown it off with olive oil (twice around the pan), deglaze my cast iron dutch oven with Lambrusco after sweating some chopped onion and garlic. Careful, burned garlic is bitter.
Then I add 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste, 2 cans water for each, and a can of San Marzano plum tomatoes. I use Cento brand, or you can use the 28 oz. can of crushed roma tomtatoes, which cost a lot less. Bay leaf is optional. I like it.
If the store has a nice smaller beef or pork bone, sometimes I put one in.
Do it how ever you want to. Browned lean ground beef is fine also.
Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Put the roast back in, and simmer low and slow, 20 min. uncovered, then cover and lower the heat so it doesn't boil. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes.
If after 2 hours if is too watery, simmer uncovered to thicken. The roast should very tender by then, all but falling apart. Re season with basil oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
If you think it is too acidic, ad 1 or 2 teaspoons brown sugar.
For a special occasion, I bake italian sausage in the oven, then cut in pieces and add to the sauce.
Note: Adding stock will make the color lighter red.
If you like chicken and peppers, try it with bone in chicken breasts and tri color bell peppers for chicken caccatorre'.
If you like crimini mushrooms, swat some out in a pan with a bit of olive oil, then add to the sauce.

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