For me I tend to associate foods with memories. I grew up in a house where Mom and Dad were always in the kitchen laughing, dancing, singing and whipping up something to feed us 6 kids. Mom had her go-to dinner rituals. Sundays were pot roast, Wednesday was spaghetti, Friday was pizza and Saturday was leftovers turned into something truly amazing. Since Mom wasn’t Italian she left the sauce up to the great folks from RAGÚ. Just the other day as I was blogging out a pot roast recipe and how amazing it smelled it immediately triggered a memory from when I was 8 years old. I could vividly what I was doing, the fact that I got hurt jumping off the swing and how she pretty much flew down by my side before I could get the first tear down my cheek. As she consoled me and wrapped me in her arms the way only a mother could we walked up towards the house I could smell her Sunday pot roast. Some 30+ years later as I stood in my kitchen smelling my pot roast I immediately got a smile on my face.
I was making her dish, carrying on her traditions. When I met Mr. Fantabulous I gained an amazing Italian family. Mama Fantabulous took me under her wing and shared with me their traditions of which a good many of them centered around foods. She shared with me their amazing pasta recipes and more importantly shared with me the stories of how these dishes came to be. So when the great folks from RAGÚ reached out to me to check out their new RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauces I was ecstatic. You see RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauce is about tradition, family and amazing flavors. For me that’s the perfect combination to make great memories!
This sauce is so thick it hugs your pasta! And you know me I love a thick sauce! Nothing is worse than getting a beautiful plate of pasta only to find a bunch of watery sauce on the bottom. Nope, you won’t get that with this RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauce! This is their boldest flavor yet because they use REAL vegetables in it! They peel, chop and simmer their ingredients and use a special blend of herbs (basil, fennel, oregano and black pepper) to layer and build the flavor.
For me I wanted to create something that will totally wow both mine and your family. This Italian Zucchini Rustica is so elegant and jaw dropping amazing!
- It looks super complicated (which it’s totally not but let’s not tell them! Make them think you slaved over making it!)
- It is unbelievably impressive looking. I mean seriously this thing is at least 4-5″ high. Even before you cut it it’s like “WHOA! What is that? Can I have some!” and then when you cut it… well let’s just say jaws will drop!
- It tastes AMAZING!
So there is one key element when you make this dish. When making this dish you must have an 8″ by 3″ Springform Pan. You need a 3″ side. Now I’ve given you the easy route to make this by using crescent roll dough. However if you want to really elevate it, make my Olive Oil Savory crust for this (you’ll need 2 1/2 batches of that dough). But if you’re short on time, go with the crescent rolls. I won’t judge *wink*.
NEW RAGÚ Homestyle sauces are available in five bold flavors – Traditional, Meat, Roasted Garlic, Four Cheese and Mushroom. The Homestyle sauces are made from a blend of 100% California-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes, onions and fragrant herbs such as basil, oregano, fennel and ground black pepper. Thanks to a bold combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, onions and fragrant herbs, you won’t need to doctor these delicious sauces – just heat and serve straight from the jar.
RAGÚ knows a great sauce starts with great ingredients. You’ll feel good about serving your friends and family the new RAGÚ Homestyle sauces because they contain no artificial colors, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup.
So let’s dish about the taste… Mama and Papa Fantabulous were here the day I made this. As I brought this out to the table their eyes lit up like a 5 year old in an all-you-can-eat-for-free candy store. I told them what it was to which they were unsure. I said “Think of all the amazing flavors of a really great lasagna but inside a flaky crust.” “Ohhhhhhhhhhs!!!” were abundant. Then I cut into it. Full disclosure. I was nervous. Would it hold up when I cut it? Would it taste ok? Would it pass the Italian Fantabulous taste test???
As I pulled out the first slice I was beaming from ear to ear as this was GORGEOUS! Perfect layers of pasta, incredible RAGÚ Homestyle Thick & Hearty Four Cheese sauce, layers of cheesy goodness and zucchini. This was truly a show stopper visually!
And the taste Well let’s just say the rustica didn’t last long in my house. This is a DEFINITE keeper and one that is totally easy to make. So when you want to impress someone definitely make this. When you want your family to think you slaved all day making dinner, make this and go rest up while it bakes. They don’t need to know. You deserve this and more importantly this is one of those dishes that your family needs to create traditions around.
- 3 cups penne
- 2 1/2 cups Ragu Homestyle Thicky & Hearty Four Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup Ricotta
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup grated Romano
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 -1 1/2 cups sliced baby zucchini (1/4” thick)
- 3 rolls of crescent dough (sheets work best)
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle.
- Brush the inside of an 8” round springform pan with olive oil. Make sure your pan has a 3” high side. 8" x 3" Springform Pan
- Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water for 8 minutes. The pasta should be more than al dente. They will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and set aside.
- In a bowl mix together the ricotta, oregano, salt, pepper, parsley, egg, Romano and 1/2 cup mozzarella until combined.
- Open up the crescent dough and line the bottom of the pan with the dough pressing down and up the sides. 2 rolls will cover the bottom and up the sides of an 8x3” springform pan. Extend the dough 1/2” inch over the top. Press any seams together.
- Spoon down 1/4 cup of the Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty Four Cheese Sauce followed by half of the noodles and the cheese mixture.
- Next add 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella followed 1 cup of sauce, the rest of the noodles, zucchini, remaining sauce and mozzarella.
- Lastly, roll out the remaining roll of croissant dough so that it’s wide enough to cover the top of the pie. Roll up the edges that are from the base crust and pinch them to seal to the top crust.
- Taking a thin tipped knife, add a few steam slices in the top of the pie.
- Bake 30 minutes uncovered. Then cover for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. The sides need to be firm.
- Remove the ring and slice. *if the sides are soft, put the oven to 450F, cover the top of the pie with foil and lightly spritz the sides with olive oil. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the sides are browned and firmer. This dish is best served warm to room temperature.