Pasta al Forno just means baked pasta (so any pasta, sauce, meat, vegetable combo baked would qualify). Craig style means my very dear husband Craig created this recipe and prepared it for our dinner tonight. He wants to share that any pasta noodle like gemelli, penne, or macaroni would work. You can also use your choice of vegetables or meat. Craig choose to use what we had on hand. So you might choose to serve this with peas instead of carrots, or summer yellow squash instead of zucchini, feel free to add mushrooms if that is your thing. You could use grilled chicken or cooked ground beef instead of the sausage. It really is your choice. The sauce, spices, cheese, are really what brings the flavor all together.
Now why was my husband the cook tonight – besides the fact that he enjoys creating dinners for us; my mom and I were laid up. My mom has recently moved into our home basically for the rest of her life (she was diagnosed with leukemia just short of a month ago) (I probably will be writing a personal blog about this but haven’t yet, but you can read a little bit about her here). Today was a day of taking her for labs at UCSD Moores Cancer Center (we were grateful that they came back good) and a day I woke up with a strained neck muscle. So my mom was tired and my neck got so sore, I couldn’t raise my head and turn without pain. So Craig said lay back, rest, and take some medicine (yay, it finally worked) and he prepared dinner for us.
Craig never prepares an ordinary dinner, it is always a creation of his with what we have on hand. I think he would do perfectly well in those cooking shows where you are given a few ingredients and then sent out on your own to make this amazing dish because that is just how he cooks, always. He is pretty terrific like that.
So here you go and I hope you enjoy this original recipe by Craig.
1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes Italian style
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
6 brown and serve link sausage (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
3 large garlic cloves (minced)
2/3 yellow onion (chopped into bite sizes)
1 extremely large carrot (peeled – 1/2 inch pieces)
1 zucchini (skin left on – 3/8 inch slices cut in half)
7 mini peppers (sliced)
2 eggs (hard boiled – diced)
1 17 oz pk gemelli pasta
6 slices provolone
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not the bottled kind)
1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp hand crushed oregano (to taste)
1/2 tsp hand crushed basil (to taste)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Chop and mince all vegetables to be ready to be used. Grate Parmesan and cheddar cheese in preparation.
3) Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a sauce pan, heat and saute onions, garlic, and sausage.
4) Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices to sauce pan, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
5) Add carrots to sauce pan, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6) Add zucchini and peppers to sauce pan, cover, and let simmer for 5 more minutes.
7) In the meantime, in a pasta pan, start water to boil for cooking the pasta. Once boiling; add pasta, a pinch of salt, a tbsp of olive oil and eggs (to hard boil). Cover.
8) Boil eggs for 5 minutes, boil pasta for 10 minutes.
9) Remove eggs from water, cool, peel and slice/dice and add to sauce.
10) Remove pasta from water, drain, and rinse.
11) Put pasta in a 9×13 pan.
12) Pour tomato sauce, vegetable mixture over pasta and gently mix in.
13) Sprinkle both grated cheese over pasta and lightly mix in.
14) Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
15) Remove foil, place provolone slices over pasta mixture, bake for additional 15 minutes.
16) Remove pan from oven and let set for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.