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Outside,  it is a beautiful, sunny, spring day. There are no clouds to be seen in the sky; nothing to veil the beauty and warmth of the sun. There’s a light breeze that grass sways to. Someone in the distance is mowing their lawn, but my street is quiet save for the sound of the birds sitting on the power lines, hiding in trees, singing their songs of spring. The windows are thrown wide open, the doors catching the cross breeze that will occasionally sweep through with fresh, cool air. If you were to walk by my house, you could smell the pasta baking and hear the classical music that is playing. 

Before you even think about reading anything else, please click play. 

So, with the birds chirping outside and the classical music drifting through the house, I set about making the pasta.

Back: Homemade sauce, ricotta cheese
Middle: Parmesan cheese, sausage, mozzarella cheese
Front: Linguine

The first thing I did was get some oil heating in a pan. Before I grabbed the olive oil, I remembered that I have a bottle of garlic infused oil and grabbed it instead. 

While the oil heated in the pan, I cut up all but 2 links of the sausage.

I advise using a serrated blade for cutting the sausage.

When the sausage was in the pan and cooking, it smelled heavenly- I set about mixing together the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan with the sauce.

Gran’s homemade sauce. Brought home in the middle of the week last week for me to use however I so pleased.

… Added in about a cup and a half of ricotta.

The sauce finished cooking and I started putting it in the ricotta-sauce mix and then realised that I should grab a picture.

Yum!

With the sauce mixed with the sausage, I heated the oven to 375, and put a little bit of the mix in the bottom of a baking pan.

Doesn’t look all that appetising, I know.

Once I’d washed the big black pan, it was back on the stove this time full of water to boil for the pasta. 

After the linguine finished cooking, I strained it and put it in the casserole dish. 

Next thing I did was coat the pasta with the sauce and sausage mixture and then added the left over mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese for the top. 

Skip ahead to 25 minutes later, the house smelled phenomenal and the pasta looked absolutely delicious.

Fresh out of the oven and waiting for it to cool

Once I had let the pasta cool for an extra 15 minutes so that it would stop bubbling and I wouldn’t scorch my mouth when I bit into it, I cut into it and dished some for myself. 

The first bite left me feeling as though I was having spaghetti and meatballs over my grandmother’s house because she always cooks her sauce with sausage in it for my dad. The second bite- full of creamy ricotta and tangy, savoury, sauce- had notes of Christmas time in it; reminding me gently of Christmas Eve dinner over my grandfather’s where we have big casserole dishes full of stuffed shells and Mum’s lasagna.

As great as each bite was, I wasn’t sure what to make of this. It didn’t spawn from a recipe so I don’t know if there is a proper name for what I created today. In talking to a friend about this, after telling him everything I just told you, he asked me one simple question: does it taste good? Well of course it does, I wrote back. To which all he had to say back to me was:

Well then there you go. Colour this experiment a success.

That comment made me smile. Why? It came during the time where I was sitting on the couch, picking at the pasta, unsure of whether I liked it. Yes, I was sitting there doubting myself, but only for the moment (everybody has moments like this, right?) and his comment kind of picked me up and brushed me off, positively reaffirmed what I knew on the inside: I loved what I made, it was just different. It was something that I made on my own with no recipe, where I pulled things from the fridge and the pantry and created. Looking back on it now, the reason I was so apprehensive about this has to be because the last time I tried to create something with sausage it didn’t end well.

~Recipe: Baked Pasta With Sausage~

 Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1/2 pound of linguine, cooked Al Dente
  • 2 Cups of Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Cook sausage until browned, remove from pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and sausage, stirring until well combined.
  4. If pasta isn’t already cooked, cook according to package directions, or for 10 minutes. Strain it and splash it with cold water.
  5. Put a little bit of the sausage, sauce and cheese mix in the bottom of a casserole dish and then add pasta.
  6. Coat pasta with remaining mix.
  7. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  9. Let sit for an additional 15 minutes on the counter so it sets.
  10. Serve with parmesan cheese and garlic bread.
  11. Enjoy!
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