Sunday, November 1, 2015

Baked Pasta with Sausage

On Halloween Alex and I got together to whip up a couple of pans of Baked Pasta with Sausage to use for dinner the next night (tonight).  This recipe is great to make ahead of time and then to pop into the oven the next day.  The original recipe is by Brown Eyed Baker but I added more cheese (and used a mixture of Romano and Parmesan vs. just Romano) and I also like to play with pasta shapes.  Her original recipe is made with Ziti but I found that any type of tubed pasta works great.  Also I made my own red sauce with meat.  I am traditionally a recipe following sort of gal but red sauce is one of those items that I really like to tinker with as it simmers over the stove.  I doubled my meat sauce recipe and will be able to use it in additional meals this week.  Since it takes me about 3 hours to make meat sauce it is a true labor of love.  Each batch of red sauce comes out a little differently so it is one recipe I cannot post as I do not do a lot of measuring with my spices while I play with the flavors as it cooks.

Baked Pasta with Sausage

1 pound of your favorite tube shaped pasta
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 cups grated Romano/Parmesan blended cheese, divided
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced small
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and put into a large bowl.
3. While the pasta is boiling, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through.
4. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the pasta.
5. Toss the pasta and sausage with the sauce, sausage, 1 cup of the Romano/Parmesan cheese, and the diced mozzarella.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup Romano/Parmesan cheese and the shredded mozzarella.

Make-Ahead Note: At this point, you can tightly cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for up to one day or freeze for up to 2 months. If frozen, place in the refrigerator the day before you plan to bake and then bake according to the directions below.

7. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until sauce and cheese are bubbling.

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