This meal can be assembled a day ahead and baked the next day for an easy dinner.
What you'll need (for 8-10 servings):
- 4 each Saddleberk fennel and garlic sausage links
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
- 28 oz can peeled and crushed tomatoes
- 16 oz penne pasta
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 8 oz Italian blend shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bring 1 gallon of water seasoned with 1 tbsp salt to a boil. Cook penne pasta until slightly underdone, about 8 minutes. It should still have a firm, but not crunchy texture. Once cooked, strain in a colander and run cold water to cool the pasta and prevent them from sticking to each other.
While the pasta is cooking, over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil in a pan until it starts to simmer. Place the sausages in the pan, turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 7 minutes. Turn the sausages over and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cover and continue to cook for another 7 minutes.
Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside on a cutting board to rest.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion and garlic mixture from the pan, crushed tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and heavy cream. Mix thoroughly. Add penne to the tomato sauce.
Slice the sausage in coin shaped pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients together. Pour pasta into a 9"x13" baking dish. Evenly distribute the shredded cheese on top of the pasta mixture.
Bake pasta dish in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden brown. If the cheese begins to brown and the pasta is still cool in the middle, cover the dish with foil and continue cooking until the pasta is heated through.
Note: If the pasta dish is assembled and refrigerated the day before cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees, remove the foil and continue cooking until the cheese is golden and the pasta is heated through, about 20 minutes.
Courtesy of Chef Jonathon Olson, head chef at The Keep (at the Hotel LeVeque, Columbus Ohio) and friend of Saddleberk.