This delicious recipe from NYT Cooking is a hearty one-pot meal that is ready in less than an hour. Brown sausage meat, add tomatoes and simmer. Add dry pasta, water and fresh mozzarella. Top with more mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan. Bake for about 25 minutes, run under the broiler for a minute or two to brown the cheese, top with fresh basil and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages, Blue Menu whole tomatoes, Mutti strained tomatoes and Tre Stelle mozzarella and ricotta. All are additive-free. Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Genuine Parmesan is free of additives – look for the name stamped on the rind.

Brown the sausage meat

Stir in tomatoes and bay leaves

Stir in pasta and water, fold in mozzarella, top with remaining mozzarella, the ricotta and Parmesan and bake

Broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese, top with fresh basil and serve


¾ pound (340 g) bulk hot or mild Italian sausage (pork, chicken or turkey)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) fennel seeds, coarsely crushed

Pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving (optional)

1 (28-ounce/796-ml) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices

1 (14-ounce/398 ml) can crushed or strained tomatoes

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt

12 ounces (340 g) dried pasta, such as small shells, farfalle or other shaped pasta

8 ounces (227 g) fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces

6 ounces (170 g) whole-milk ricotta (about ¾ cup/180 ml)

⅓ cup (83 ml) grated Parmesan

¼ cup (60 ml) basil leaves

Black pepper, for serving


Heat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Heat oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Crumble sausage into skillet, using a spoon to break it into small pieces. Cook until starting to brown, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes (if using), and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in whole tomatoes and their juice, using a spoon to break them up. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.

Stir in pasta and 1 cup (250 ml) water and return to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, pluck out the bay leaves, and fold in about a third of the mozzarella.

Top pasta with remaining mozzarella and dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then transfer to oven. Bake until pasta is tender when poked with a fork, and cheese is bubbly and lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. (If you’d like a more deeply browned topping, run the pan under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes.) Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Top with basil, plenty of black pepper, and more red-pepper flakes, if you like. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking