The term, “al telefono” in Italian means the strings of melted cheese one can see when pulling from a dish. The strings of cheese resemble “telephone wires”.
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 pound good quality ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 12 crimini mushrooms, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon pasted garlic
- 1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes (recommend San Marzano), with liquid
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
- 1 pound mozzarella, grated or chopped
- Olive oil or butter as needed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
- Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Distribute meat in large skillet, season with salt and pepper, over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and other vegetables cooking until all are tender.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring until incorporated and fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes breaking them up with a spoon.
- Add cream and butter and mix until incorporated.
- Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper; do not let sauce become too thick.
- Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) then put the pasta into a large bowl.
- Toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella.
- Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Pecorino Romano. Bake until top is browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.