Phyllis Paccheri with Turkey Sausage Sauce, Plate Decorated with Olives

Phyllis’ Paccheri With Turkey Sauce

When we were in Rome a couple of years ago, we noticed Romans ordering paccherei pasta, a 2” long, hollow pasta, larger than rigatoni.  Recently it’s shown up at our favourite Italian grocery store.  I wanted to came up with a pasta sauce to serve with the paccheri and based this on a Roman recipe using Italian turkey sausages.  We liked it a lot!  You will find this makes a lot of sauce, probably more than what you’ll need for 1 lb. of pasta.  If you prefer, you can  make half the amount of sauce.   Leftover sauce would make delicious smaller version of my Turkey Lasagne!  Click here to see the recipe.

Makes 6 – 8 Main Course Servings

For the Turkey Sauce:

2 Tbsp. EVO
2 cups chopped onions
½ cup diced carrot
1 Tbsp. fennel, seeds, crushed in a spice mill (aka coffee grinder used only for grinding spices)
1 lb. spicy Italian turkey sausages, casings removed (if you cannot find spicy sausages add ¼ tsp. of pepperoncino (red chili flakes), or to taste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry white wine
5 cups (approximately 2 1/2 – 28 oz. tins) Italian Plum tomatoes in thick juice (crush the tomatoes with your hands into a large bowl)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 lb. Paccheri pasta or Rigatoni, or mezze rigatoni
½ cup ricotta cheese or mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram (it really needs to be fresh)

Make the Turkey Sauce:

Heat the EVO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and fennel seeds; sauté 5 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add the sausage and garlic; sauté until sausage is cooked through, breaking up lumps with a fork; about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the wine; boil 1 minute. Add tomatoes with their juice, ½ cup basil and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.  The sauce can be made a day or so ahead.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta with the fresh marjoram. Put aside until ready to dress the pasta.

Heat a large pasta serving bowl in a warm spot or warming oven.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt, then add the Paccheri, stirring for a minute.  Cook for approximately 12 minutes until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander and add the pasta to the pan with the sauce. Carefully toss the pasta until it is thoroughly coated with the sauce for a minute or so. If it appears a bit to dry, add a bit of the pasta cooking water, tossing again.  I often will remove some of the sauce and set aside if I feel there’s more than what I need for the pasta as I don’t want to end up with too much sauce on the pasta.

Place the pasta in the warmed serving bowl and top with spoonful’s of the ricotta-marjoram mixture. Bring to the table and just before serving, toss again until cheese melts into the sauce.

Note:  If I have leftover ricotta that I won’t be using within a few days I’ll freeze it.  I can use it another time in something like lasagne.



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