Sausage ragu pasta bake – Pasta al forno con salsiccia

Sausage ragu pasta bake

I didn’t always cook or was interested to do so. It wasn’t till I had to fend for myself at university, that I knew what to do with a wooden spoon and a sauce pan. One of the first Italian recipes I taught myself was a sausage ragu that I found in the River Cafe cookbook. I remember following the recipe, step by step, tasting it as I went along and thinking ‘OMG, this is tasting REALLY good’. I started to realise that I didn’t have to wait to go home to eat a good Italian home made dish. That’s where I started my love of cooking and haven’t looked back since. Obsessing Over the years I adapted the sausage ragu recipe and evolved it into a TTI classic including this pasta bake version.


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Teaspoon of Italian dry herbs (rosemary, fennel, oregano, basil)
  • 500g Italian sausage, finely chopped
  • 125g pancetta, diced
  • 150ml red wine
  • 750ml Tomato passata
  • 500g Conchiglioni grande (Large Pasta shells)
  • 50ml Italian Panna or double cream
  • 50g Parmesan
  • Pepper

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  1. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened
  2. Add the chilli flakes and Italian herbs and give it a good stir.
  3. Then add the sausage meat and pancetta
  4. Cook the meat until its browned.
  5. Pour in the red wine, turn up the heat slightly, stir and cook until the wine has evaporated.
  6. Then to finish the sauce, pour in the passata and allow it to cook for about 40-50 minutes giving the sauce a stir now and again.
  7. Finally, add half the parmesan and cream and stir it through the sauce.
  8. Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water until they are extra dente…Knock off two minutes off the cooking time at least. Drain
  9. In an oven dish, first add a layer of sauce, then a layer of pasta; then pour more sauce over the  pasta, another layer of pasta, then finish with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle more parmesan on top.
  10. Cover the over dish with tin foil, and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180c for 20 minutes. Make sure the pasta is cooked through until al dente.
  11. Serve hot.

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