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Cheesy Baked Cavatappi

Tender Cavatappi layered with a hearty mushroom and Italian sausage ragu baked in crushed tomatoes and layered with mozzarella and grated parmesan,.

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Featured Standouts:

Cavatappi Pasta

Cavatappi is a short S-shaped pasta tube that looks similar to a small corkscrew. Its slender, spiral shape makes it great for serving with hearty sauce because the ragu gets trapped between the coils.

Meaty Ragu

For my ragu I use a classic Italian sausage, a ton of mushrooms  and fresh vegetables like carrots, onions, garlic simmered in crushed tomatoes i like to season it with thyme, oregano , rosemary and bay leaves. A slow simmered ragu is also a great place to add in tougher veggies like kale and chard to add some more earthy flavor and a bump of veggies.

Cheese

White cheese is a go to for baked pasta with red sauce, Choose your favorite combinations. For this recipe I used mozzarella, and parmesan, Alternative cheeses include ricotta, provolone, or asiago.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST Baked Cavatappi

Building the sauce

building the sauce is important to the overall flavor of the dish. start off by browning the meat, season the meat directly at this time since its impossible to add flavor directly to the meat once the tomatoes are poured.

from there don t drain the meat unless you plan on not  adding any veggies to the sauce. add in the vegetables so that they can pick up the rendered fat from the pork. do not cover the pot In the beginning stages you want to give the steam room to escape so that the moisture reduces so that you can build a thicker more concentrated sauce.

add in the wine to the meat and veggies then let it reduce in half before adding in the tomato sauce to avoid a overly boozy sauce. once it’s times to add the crushed tomatoes, then you can heavily season, cover and simmer the sauce.

building the baked pasta

building the pasta is important to the overall structure of the bake. once the sauce and pasta is cooked i like to combine them together so the sauce has a chance to get in the pasta. similarly to lining a baked cake with sugar to keep it from sticking, i often opt for rubbing my baking pan with softened butter and finely grated parmesan, not only does it keep the pasta from sticking but it makes an amazing crust for the entire base and outer edge of the pasta. adding the cheese in layers helps thicken the sauce and firm up the structure once the pasta is set.

SIMILAR INGREDIENTS TO

CREAMY RIGATONI BUTTERY ROASTED BROCCOLI AND MUSHROOMS

ITALIAN SAUSAGE & MUSHROOM RIGATONI

BUCATINI AND MEAT SAUCE

ENJOY THIS RECIPE WITH

CHICKEN & MUSHROOM SOUP + PINK PEPPERCORN ROSEMARY PIE CRUST STICKS

SPRING SALAD + CARROT & SAFFLOWER VINAIGRETTE

SUPREME SALAD

Cheesy Baked Cavatappi

Cheesy Baked Cavatappi
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb Cavatappi Pasta, cooked
  • 1Tb Olive Oil
  • 2lb Italian Sausage
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1lb Mushroom, sliced
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Carrot, minced
  • 8oz Tomato Paste
  • 1c White Wine
  • 2 (28oz) Crushed Tomatoes, canned
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1Tb Thyme
  • 1Tb Rosemary
  • 1Tb Oregano
  • 2tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2tsp Black Pepper
  • 1Tb Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • 3c Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1c Parmesan, grated
  • Fresh oregano or basil
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • Parmesan cheese, finely grated

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Start off by making the ragu. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Add in olive oil, and Italian sausage, brown for 8 minutes till compeltely browned.
  • Add in yellow onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and carrots.
  • Cook for 10 minutes till browned. Add in wine, cook for 5 minutes till reduced.
  • Add in tomato paste and stir into the pan. Cook for five more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and garlic.
  • Add in crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil then simmer for 2 hours. Once the sauce is simmered adjust seasonings.
  • Boil the pasta in salted water according to package instructions.
  • Once cooled add into pasta sauce.
  • Rub your baking dish with softened butter, coat it with finely grated parmesan.
  • Place an even layer of pasta at the bottom. Add in a combination of cheeses, add in another layer of pasta. Top with the remaining cheese then bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
  • Once golden brown and bubbly allow the pasta to cool for 10 minutes plus before serving.
  • Once your ready to serve top with extra parmesan and, fresh basil or oregano.
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