'Food & Wine' Magazine's Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta Recipe

'Food & Wine' Magazine's Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta Recipe

When we talked to Food & Wine Magazine editor in chief Dana Cowin about the November 2008 issue of the magazine, we asked her what her favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the issue were. This is one of them.

More of Dana Cowin's favorite recipes from the November 2008 issue of Food & Wine Magazine:

Buttery Squash Turnovers
Crunchy Baked Fennel
Caramel Cream Pie with Crispy Rice Topping

  • Yield:8


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed
  • one 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 3 cups Creamy Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 quarts whole milk, preferably organic
  • 1 cup heavy cream, preferably organic
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, water, sugar, bay leaf and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic, mash it to a paste and stir it back into the sauce; discard the bay leaf.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage to the pasta, then add 1 cup of the tomato sauce and toss to coat the penne.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

    Make Ahead

  5. 5.

    The baked penne can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Re-warm before serving.

  6. 6.

    Creamy Ricotta

  7. 7.

    - makes about 1 3/4 pounds (3 1/2 cups) -

  8. 8.

    Recipe by Maria Helm Sinskey

  9. 9.

  10. 10.

    Line a large colander with several layers of cheesecloth, allowing several inches of overhang. Set the colander in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the colander. Carefully gather the corners of the cheesecloth and close with a rubber band. Let the ricotta stand for 30 minutes, gently pressing and squeezing the cheesecloth occasionally to drain off the whey. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl and use at once, or cover and refrigerate.

  11. 11.

    Make Ahead

  12. 12.

    The fresh ricotta can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.