Recipe

Penne A La Vodka Casserole

  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • Two 16-ounce cans whole tomatoes, crushed with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350?F.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over high heat. Add the sausages and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just soft, about 4 minutes. Add the basil and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the vodka and tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add the Essence and heavy cream, stir to mix, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • To cook the pasta, combine 4 quarts water, the olive oil, and the remaining teaspoon salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well. Combine half of the ricotta cheese and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly. Add the sausage mixture and mix well. Add the remaining ricotta cheese and the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix well.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve warm with crusty bread.