Author: Canadian Living

Pasta and cheese is our family's favourite comfort food. How can you go wrong? Orecchiette ('little ears') is our preferred pastsa with this dish; however, you can always substitute your favourite.

  • Portion size 8 servings
  • Credits : Alexandra Rathgeber


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes preferably San Marzano
  • 1 pkg (300 g) spinach thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili flakes (sambal oelek), if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek), if desired
  • 1 lb orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly oil a shallow 3 litre baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and sausage meat. Sprinkle pepper and salt over all and mix until combined. In a large Dutch oven, or saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat mixture and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, until it loses its pink colour -  approximately 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until vegetables are softened- an additional five minutes. Lower the heat and add the tomato paste to the mixture and stir to combine. Cook gently over low heat until thickened and somewhat carmelized - approximately 15 minutes. While mixture is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just barely al dente (8-10 minutes). Do not overcook. Drain well. Add the tomatoes and spinach to the saute pan. Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer. Adjust the seasonings, adding the chili flakes/paste if more heat is needed. In a large bowl toss the pasta with the sauce. Fold in the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Spread in the prepared baking dish. Bake until the mixture is bubbly, approximately 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Prep time: 35 minutes Baking time: 30 minutes
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Orecchiette alla Fiorentina