Pasta Rustica

Pasta Rustica

I've been making this signature dish for friends and family for about 20 years. The original recipe called for ground chicken, which I found flavorless. A few other tweaks were required to make this dish the crowd-pleaser it is today!
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting time 5 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 690 kcal


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 lb Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes crushed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • Handful fresh basil shredded


  • In a 5 quart Dutch oven on medium heat add, the olive oil
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté 5 minutes
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté 1 minute
  • Add the sausage, breaking it up into bitesize pieces, cooking for 6 minutes
  • Add dried herbs and red pepper flakes, and stir
  • Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the red wine, and salt
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente
  • Place the cooked pasta in a well-oiled baking dish
  • Add the ricotta cheese to the pasta and mix well
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and mix
  • Top with mozzarella cheese
  • Place in a 375° oven for 25-30 minutes. The cheese will be melted and just getting a bit of golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes
  • Top with parmesan cheese and shredded fresh basil


Grated mozzarella is easiest, but I also like to slice fresh mozzarella sliced and place it on top.
Serve with garlic bread and your favorite red wine.


Calories: 690kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 32gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1179mgPotassium: 619mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 598IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 487mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta
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