Fantastic baked pasta with sujuk, fresh tomato and lemon zest
Is there anyone who doesn't love baked pasta / casseroles? One of everyone's favourite dishes, enhanced with exotic aroma from the sujuk (spicy armenian/turkish saucage), the fresh tomatoes and the mushrooms. You can hardly wait to get it out of the oven!
- 250gr/8.8oz rigatoni or penne (or any other short-shaped pasta)
- 250gr/8.8oz fresh common mushrooms (champignons), sliced
- 150gr/5.3oz sujuk, cut into 1cm/0.4inch cubes (if you can't find sujuk than you can use italian saucage, which is however milder in taste)
- 200gr/7oz onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 medium-sized tomato (200gr/7oz) cut into cubes (remove the seeds)
- 80ml olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 80ml white wine (1/3 cup)
- 1 pinch of nutmeg (powder)
- 500ml (2 cups) cream (full fat)
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
- 200gr/7oz kaseri cheese, grated (if you can't find Greek kaseri, than try it with edam or gouda cheese)
Boil the pasta for 5-10 minutes, according to its type, and drain it.
The goal is to remove it from boiling a bit before it's ready, because it will also be baked it in the next phase of the recipe.
When the pasta is removed, put it in a medium sized pyrex (or other suitable for casserole baking pan, like ceramic). Put it aside in order to prepare the sauce.
Pour the olive oil in a frying pan and put it on medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot add the onion and sautee until it is almost translucent.
Add the mushrooms and let them cook (stirring occasionally) until their moisture evaporates.
Add the garlic and the sujuk and sautee for another 2 minutes.
Pour the wine and continue cooking until it evaporates.
Then add the cream, the salt and pepper, the zest, the nutmeg, and stir. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken. You don't want the sauce to be ready (thick); it must be a bit watery, as it will be baked.
Put a handful of cheese in the pasta, stir, add the sauce and turn the pasta in order to ensure that it is mixed and distributed equally in the casserole/pyrex.
Add the rest of the cheese and the tomato on top and bake for 25-30 minutes in 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit).
1. You can use any soft yellow cheese instead of Greek kaseri or edam/gouda. However, be careful, as it mustn't be too salty.
2. The pasta can be rigatoni, penne, rotini (a type of short fusilli), farfalle etc. Choose the one that you like best. In this recipe we used our favourite rigatoni.
3. As mentioned, the pasta mustn't be boiled much, as the cooking will continue with the baking. So keep it a bit more 'al dente' than you prefer, when removing from the boiling water.