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Yesterday was Sunday, our day with Mother Theresa. As Mother Theresa would say “the age is there” because on Saturday we had a little visit to the emergency room, she is having some difficulty with her hip and is not able to move her leg. We will have to wait till Monday to talk with the Orthopedic doctor before we know what is going on, but as always it was my sister Carol her husband Louie and myself who rush to her side whenever there is an issue. Louie’s sister Sonia who has been with us since the beginning of time also came yesterday, we as usual kept Mom laughing the whole time, discussing such topics as Louie’s visit for testing to the hospital (Barium Enema story) and other family favorites that kept us in stitches. Mother Theresa was totally coherent  through the whole day, (even on morphine at 87 years young) she kept her sense of humor and told us that we missed our weekly visits this week so she had to do something dramatic to get us all together on a Saturday, ( we knew she was just looking for handsome doctors). She did return to her home on Saturday afternoon, so on Sunday not to take her out we just went up to the home and brought Penne Alla Vodka and octopus salad (Mother Theresa’s favorite) with a great loaf of italian bread. Here is our recipe and a picture for you!!!~

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans crushed whole tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 11/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over high heat. Add the sausages and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just soft, about 4 minutes. Add the basil and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the vodka and tomatoes; reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add the Essence and heavy cream, stir to mix, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To cook the pasta, combine 4 quarts water, the 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well. Combine half of the ricotta cheese and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly. Add the sausage mixture and mix well. Add the remaining ricotta cheese and the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve warm with crusty bread.

This is Emeril’s Seasoning recipe, makes a lot but you will use it in many other dishes. Save the rest in a baggie and label it.

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Enjoy!!!

XOXO

M

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