For the love of…Penne!

March 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

This being my very first post on Rhelda’s Recipe makes what I’m about to write apropo. Not because it is a recipe as in the title of this web page, but because it is a recipe.  Huh?  I know.  Let me explain…  

I have always been inspired by people, experiences, and food.  I would (without any doubt) put food at the top of my short list of passions.  In recent years, I’ve found that cooking has become somewhat of a therapeutic experience for me.  If there is any type of unrest in my life, I cook. Cooking for those I love, honestly, gets me into a happy zone where all my problems melt away into whatever it is I’m whipping up.  Essentially, I rise from the pots and pan feeling a sense of calm and peace.  I wish I could say that was the case when paying the bills, but you can’t win them all.  So for me, posting a recipe will always be about passion, inspiration and living in my happy place.

“For the love of…Penne!” is my son’s favorite meal.  When he smells this cooking in the kitchen, he can’t seem to contain himself.  It starts with him jumping up and down.  He then transitions into the “oh yippy, yippy, yippy”, and finishes with a great big hug for the cook (that would be me).  What a finish!  Who wouldn’t want to cook after that?  If my son is inspired to do cart wheels when I make this recipe, then I felt as though it totally deserved top billing.

This recipe came about when a friend made me and my family dinner when I was under the weather.  She popped over with a delicious baked penne that received the most wonderful reviews from my picky eaters.  From then on, this meal has received a regular rotation in the dinner schedule.  My friend didn’t write the recipe down for me, which allowed me to put my spin (and name) on it.  I hope you are inspired to make this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do.

For the love of…Penne!


  •  8 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 lb bulk italian sausage
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided into 1 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 med. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 – 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red table wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 13″ X 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella and parsley.  Set aside.  In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until cooked through and pink color is gone.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon to a paper towel.  Drain off excess fat.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot along with the chopped onion.  Cook over med. heat until translucent.  Add the sausage back into the pot along with the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, wine, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Bring the sauce up to a bubble, then drop the heat to a simmer.  Cook over low heat for at least 10 minutes (longer if you have extra time).  You want the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken a bit.  While the sauce is simmering, boil water for the penne in a large 4 qt. pot.  Add salt to water before dropping in the pasta.  Cook the penne according to the box but take a couple of minutes off the cook time.  This dish will finish cooking in the oven, so you’ll want the pasta to have a little firmness to it.  Drain pasta and place it back into the pot you cooked it in.  Add the sauce to the pasta.  Stir to incorporate.  Now add the cheese mixture.  Mix well.  Add mixture to your prepared baking dish.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the top.  Spray the bottom of the foil with more cooking spray and place over the entire top of the dish, sealing the edges.  Cook covered for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and devour.

You can thank me for this one later!


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§ 3 Responses to For the love of…Penne!

  • Denise says:

    This recipe sounds a crowd pleasure. I will have to try it! Thanks

  • mandy says:

    sounds delicious! so fun to read your first blog entry rhelda!

  • Tracy says:

    I am sooooo excited to try this…. if Graham loves it, I KNOW my kids will love it. You know I am no chef, but I will attempt this recipe and pray it all comes together… and by the way, I AM inspired by you!

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