Baked Cavatappi

Baked Cavatappi

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The Quintessential Comfort Food

Admittedly, there are hundreds of recipes for baked cavatappi. Many of very good. Mine is different in that it does not include tomato sauce. I love tomato sauce, I just don’t believe this dish requires it. Its ingredients are strong enough to stand on their own.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil 
3/4 lb Sweet/Hot Italian Sausage – casings removed
1 Eggplant – small
1 Onion – small, diced 
4 cloves Garlic – minced
1/4 cup Sun-dried tomatoes – sliced thin
2 Tomatoes – sliced 
5 oz Cavatappi – al dente (or any other pasta you prefer)
1/4 cup Basil – fresh
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives – chopped
2 1/2 cups Mozzarella – shredded
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese – grated
Salt – to taste
Black pepper – to taste
1 Green Pepper diced

Preparation:

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 400F. In 10″ nonstick fry
pan, over medium high heat, heat 2 tsp oil. Brown cubed sausage for 5 minutes.
Drain on paper towel.

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Heat an additional 2 tsp oil. Cook eggplant 6 minutes.
(Eggplant will soak up oil. Resist urge to add more oil.) Add salt & pepper to eggplant.

Add sausage back to pan. Add onions, garlic, cooked pasta (al dente),
cheeses, basil, pepper, olives & tomatoes. Stir all ingredients.

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Cover & bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 5 minutes. Serve while hot.

Served with Merlot
Served with Merlot

This dish goes perfectly with a nice smooth merlot. I am partial to wines from the Russian River Valley (Sonoma County, CA). My choice for this meal was a merlot by SIMI.

SIMI Merlot
SIMI Merlot

This wine has obvious plum and black cherry flavors that do not compete with the sausage and garlic but enhances these diverse flavors. You can learn more about this wine from this link: http://youtu.be/tE8nqc3SxjU.

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