Italian Pasta Rustica is a classic Italian dish that’s heavy on two major ingredients that we love – parmesano reggiano and garlic!
While you can use regular parmesan in this recipe, and many will, there’s a different quality involved when using parmesano reggiano. If you’re able to do so, using the reggiano will bring out a much more velvety texture and deeper flavor profile.
The vegetables are incredibly important in this recipe. Use fresh mushrooms and broccoli, as the baking of something that is anything less than fresh is going to lead to a final dish that taste rather “wilty”, and really doesn’t taste good. Do everything you can to go with the freshest ingredients you can find, and you won’t be able to go wrong on the dish!
This is a basic, easy, but real Italian recipe, and one we’ve enjoyed on the streets of Rome and Naples! We hope you enjoy this twist on the classic just as we have!
- 1 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced
- 2 ounces grilled diced chicken breast (I buy it by the frozen bag at Whole Foods)
- 2 ounces broccoli florets with some of the stem peeled and chopped
- 2 ounces ham steak like Nueske’s brand, cut into ¼“ dice
- 2 ounces mostaccioli or penne rigati pasta
- 2 – 3 ounces red onion or shallots minced/finely diced
- 1 – 2 fat cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper
- 1 tablespoon each olive oil and softened butter for frying the onions and meat
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste (I season as I go)
- Crushed red-pepper flakes, to taste
For the Creamy, Garlic-Parmesan Sauce
- 4 ounces ricotta cheese or mascarpone
- 4½ teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic it comes in the little jars, or make your own
- ½ cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese divided
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- Blanche the broccoli florets 30 seconds in lightly salted water, then plunge in an ice bath to flash cool; remove from water. You don’t have to blanche frozen broccoli for this recipe – just thaw it before making. Boil the pasta just until al dente (still a bit firm).
- Mix ¼ cup of cheese with the sauce ingredients thoroughly in a food processor until very smooth. Stir in remaining cheese, set aside.
- Soften up the shallots, fresh garlic and mushrooms with red-pepper flakes in a large saucepan in the olive oil and butter.
- Stir in the meats to brown, then stir in everything else, including the broccoli, cooked pasta and sauce; warm through.
- Place the pasta mixture in a greased 1½- to 2-quart casserole dish. Top liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and bake 30 minutes uncovered.
You can serve this with a side of baked garlic bread if you like, just to soak up what’s left in the bowl. This is a great dish that you can’t go wrong with – especially if you’re serving up a nice Italian white wine on the side!