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Author Notes: My effort to make the children eat vegetables makes me come up with different dishes. As much as I hide the vegetables, they still manage to find them and leave them on the side. This is one of those dishes that strangely they don't complain, maybe because of the mozzarrella and the sausage, or because the vegetables are all cut up in samll pieces and mixed with the fusilli and sausage meat. This is also a very easy dish to make as I can have the vegetables all done in the fridge, the tomato sauce in the freezer or use store bought one. The béchamel I always have some in the fridge, or if tight in time, use a packet of store bought béchamel. The important thing at the end of the day is to have a happy family around the table enjoying the meal. - Babette's Feast
Serves 6 - 8
- 14 ounces fusilli
- 3 fresh sausages, case removed and meat crumbled
- 2 medium zucchini cut in medium small dice
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut in medium small dice
- 1 bunch bunch asparagus, trimmed and peeled and cut in pieces on a bias
- 1/2 cup fresh wild mushrooms
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped finely
- 4 fresh mozzarellas
- 12 fresh basil leaves shredded
- 1/3 cup Double Cream
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- For the tomato sauce
- 1 pound tin of canned peeled tomatoes
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 garlics whole, no skin, lightly crushed
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
- salt & pepper
- Bechamel Sauce (ee recipe posted on my profile)
- Make the béchamel sauce as per the recipe posted in my profile.
- Make the tomato sauce: Cut the tomatoes in pieces. In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes and liquid in the can 5 times, leaving some pieces whole (not a smooth purée).
- In a pan over medium heat add 5 tablespoons of olive oil, the 2 crushed garlic cloves, the rosemary and thyme sprigs, bay leaf and the onion chopped very finely. Stir until the onion is translucent, Add the tomato, stir, add a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until you have a thick tomato sauce. Discard the rosemary and thyme sprigs, the garlic and the bay leaf.
- Shred themozzarella coarsely and leave them in a kitchen cotton towe and reserve.
- Wash the Eggplant, remove skin and cut in medium small dice. Sprinkle with some salt, leave in a colander for 30 minutes. Dry them with a kitchen paper towel, pressing to get all the water out. Reserve
- Wash the Zucchini and cut medium small dice leaving the skin on. Sprinkle with some salt, leave in a colander for 30 minutes. Dry them with a kitchen paper towel, pressing to get all the water out. Reserve
- Trim the asparagus peel the stem and cut on a bias in bite size pieces.
- Clean the mushrooms with a brush and a damp cloth and cut in slices.
- In a sauté pan, add 2 tablespoon of olive oil, cook the eggplant until golden brown. Reserve.
- Repeat with the Zucchini and reserve.
- Repeat with the Asparagus, season with salt and freshly grated pepper and reserve.
- Repeat with the Mushrooms but cook over high heat so they don’t loose water, add the tablespoon of parsley, season with salt and freshly grated pepper and reserve.
- Remove the casing of the sausages, crumble the meat and fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until meat is golden brown but it must be very crumbly. Reserve.
- Cook the Fusilli very al dente. Drain and cool under cold running water to stop the the cooking immediately. Put in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix to coat well so they don't attach to each other.
- Add all the vegetables to the fusilli and toss to mix. Add the fried sausage meat, the shredded basil, 1 cup of tomato sauce and stir to mix all. If you see it needs more tomato sauce add a little at a time, you don't want the fusilli to be swimming in an olympic pool of tomato sauce, just enough for moisture. Check the seasoning. Divide in 3 equal parts.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large baking dish add a thin layer of béchamel sauce. Then add 1/3 of fusilli with the vegetables, sausage and tomato sauce, a layer of shredded mozzarella and parmesan.
- Start again – 1/3 of fusilli with the vegetables, sausage and tomato sauce, a layer of shredded mozzarella and parmesan.
- Repeat a third layer adding a thicker layer of shredded mozzarella and NO parmesan.
- Spread some bèchamel over the top, spoon the double cream over the béchamel and add a generous amount of parmesan and some freshly ground pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn to grill position and brown the top. Turn off the oven, slightly open the oven door and allow the baked pasta to stand for 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- Note: When I make it for myself I skip the sausage because I love it just with the vegetables and it's so much lighter to digest.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Baked Pasta