When we were in Rome a couple of years ago, we noticed the Romans ordering this pasta shape. It’s a 2” long, hollow pasta, larger than rigatoni. Recently I’ve noticed it here in Vancouver. I created the following pasta based on a Roman recipe but using ground turkey in the sauce. We thought it was darned good! The sauce would also make a delicious 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 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 (15 oz.) container whole-milk ricotta cheese (5 oz. to combine with fresh Marjoram & 1/2 cup for garnishing the pasta)
1 lb. Paccheri pasta or 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 make the sauce 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 the Paccheri. 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.
Place the pasta in the warmed serving bowl and top with spoonfuls 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.