Cheesy Baked Pasta With Sausage and Ricotta

4 servings


45 minutes

total time


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound bulk hot or mild Italian sausage (pork, chicken or turkey)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed

Pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving (optional)

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices

1 (14-ounce) can crushed or strained tomatoes

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt

12 ounces dried pasta, such as small shells, farfalle or other shaped pasta

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces

6 ounces whole-milk ricotta (about 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup basil leaves

Black pepper, for serving


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Crumble sausage into skillet, using a spoon to break it into small pieces. Cook until starting to brown, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes (if using), and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in whole tomatoes and their juice, using a spoon to break them up. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.

Stir in pasta and 1 cup water and return to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, pluck out the bay leaves, and fold in about a third of the mozzarella.

Top pasta with remaining mozzarella and dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then transfer to oven. Bake until pasta is tender when poked with a fork, and cheese is bubbly and lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. (If you’d like a more deeply browned topping, run the pan under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes.) Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Top with basil, plenty of black pepper, and more red-pepper flakes, if you like.


Serving Size




Total Fat

53 g

Saturated Fat

22 g

Unsaturated Fat

29 g

Trans Fat

0 g




1393 mg

Total Carbohydrate

87 g

Dietary Fiber

9 g

Total Sugars

13 g


47 g

4 servings


45 minutes

total time
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