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It’s like my mother-in-law’s sinful Christmas cinnamon rolls, one bite and you know you will not have anything better that day…maybe not for days or months even, so you better enjoy it now. This is how I feel about Danny’s to-die-for pasta bake. Even after I finished my plate and packed my lunch for the next day, I found myself hovered over the baking dish snacking bite after bite from the defenseless pan. It’s my mom’s ugly cake all over again (my every year birthday cake that I cannot rest until every bite is devoured). I will be working on this dish for the next couple of days and smiling with every bite.

Here’s how the it unfolded. First turkey, pork sausage, olives, and a whole lot of others stuff made their way into a pan. For me, cooking is a mystery that tastes better when you feel it came to magically be somehow. No need for all the details; good food should just appear.

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Then the cheese, the entire glorious pound of provolone.

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Okay, now I’m starting to think about walking back into the kitchen for another bite at this point. Come on willpower. I think I’m at least okay on this couch for now because my wine glass is still full, but I’m going to need to go to the kitchen for a refill eventually and I know at this point, I cannot be trusted. Even the wine he chose is delicious…darn it. Deal with it metabolism, we’ll get back on track tomorrow.

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The arugula, radish, and tomato salad in a tangy lemon vinaigrette was a nice touch and contrast for the sweetness of the tomato and ricotta, in the pasta. We have a saying at our house for dishes that are good enough to find themselves in our kitchen twice, I look at Danny, pretend he is crafting a dish for his very own restaurant and say approvingly, “You could serve this.”

For those of you that want to try it. Here’s the recipe. Note that Danny was a little hesitant to give me this because he always adds things as he cooks. If this is even 90% close, you will still be in love.

Penne Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 35 min. | Cook Time: 20 min. | Servings: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion Diced
1 Red Pepper chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 lb. Ground Turkey
1/2 lb. Ground Pork Sausage
3/4 lb. Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1 14.5 oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 14.5 oz. can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary
1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley
1 can sliced olives
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb. grated provolone cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pasta.

Sautee diced onion and red pepper over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, turkey and sausage and cook until browned. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, herbs and olives. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, let simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in cooked pasta and ricotta cheese. Transfer to casserole dish and top with a layer of provolone cheese. Cook in oven for 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

You’re welcome.

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