Dinner in a Blink: Pasta al Pastore

Everyone should have a few dishes up their sleeve that they can make on auto-pilot with minimal fuss/clean-up for those days when things just are too hectic (everyday at our house!).  Dishes that even a complete “self-professed non-cook” (Yes, Gina & Bonnie, I am talking about you guys 🙂 ) can make.  I have a few of them:

Curried Chicken Drumsticks with Carrots

Slow-cooker Chicken Verde

Steamed Fish with Ginger & Scallions

Quick Baked Chicken Dinner

Pasta with Broccoli and Breadcrumbs

Effortless Enchiladas

Seafood Curry in a Hurry (this one is easy for me, perhaps not everyone else)

Asian Meatloaf

And now…..

Pasta al Pastore – Calabrian Shepard’s Style Pasta (adapted from Lidia Bastianich)

Stacie will love this one and in my opinion, it almost makes itself.  Store bought, well-made Italian sausage (chicken, turkey or traditional pork) is what makes this dish so quality and so easy.  Well-seasoned sausage takes away the need to add your own seasonings and when possible I use good ricotta (our local Bellwether Farms ricotta fits the bill).  If you are squeamish (or vegetarian like my friend Anu), you can often buy bulk sausage or tell the butcher to remove the casings for you.  If the Italian shepherds eat this, I am down with it!


  • 4 hot (or mild for kids) Italian sausages
  • 1lb package rigatoni or pasta of choice
  • 1/2lb fresh ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Grated pecorino/parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Boil well salted water in a large pot.  Add pasta and cook till al dente
  2. In a skillet, add oil, heat and then add sausage meat.  You can crumble it with the back of the wooden spoon.  Saute till cooked – 5-7 minutes.
  3. Reserving 2-3 ladles of pasta water, remove pasta from water and add to sausage in skillet
  4. Add the reserved pasta water.  Cook for a minute or so.  Turn off heat.
  5. Stir in ricotta and if using sprinkle with pecorino/parmesan
  6. Done!! (Red wine, anyone?)

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