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Friday, September 20, 2013

Baked penne with Italian sausage

I signed up to bring dinner to the missionaries last week (they can't come over because Kev is almost never home at dinner time) so I looked through some new recipes to find something inexpensive that could feed a couple of really hungry teenaged boys and still leave some leftover for me and Kev to eat.

I've made baked pastas before (although never a lasagna) and decided to do one with Italian sausage. It's always really easy and filling and can go with so many sides. In the past I usually just brown ground hamburger and throw it in, so this was a nice, subtle change. I modified this recipe slightly in that I didn't make my own sauce; I just used what I had leftover in the fridge from a jar. JUST AS DELICOUS, PEOPLE.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage

3 T Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, ground or cut up links
~ 28 oz pasta sauce
1 bay leaf
1 lb penne pasta
3 C ricotta
1/2 lb cubed mozzarella
1/4 C grated parmesan

Heat oil and minced garlic cloves for 15-30 seconds before adding sausage and browning (about 8 minutes). Add sauce and bay leaf and allow to simmer for 30 minutes (put the bay right on top and let it do its thing).

Cook penne while sauce/sausage combo is simmering. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Set aside 1 1/2 C sauce/sausage combo.

Toss cooked pasta with remaining sauce.

Spoon pasta and mixed sauce into 9X13 dish (I split mine between a big casserole dish and a smaller, aluminum pan for the missionaries to keep).

Cover with the 1 1/2 C sauce that was set aside, adding dollops of ricotta on top.

Sprinkle with cubed mozzarella and shredded parmesan and gently fold in.

Bake 45 minutes, until golden and bubbling (I like to cover my dish in the last 15 minutes or so to avoid over-browning while still getting everything all melty and delicious).

This was really great and reheated well. You could also do this meatless, using tofu for the added protein.

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