Baked Penne with Italian Sausage

Baked Penne

Mangia, mangia! Pull a chair on up and scoop yourself a big spoonful of baked penne… it’s saucy and scrumptious, and it’s one of my and my husband’s favorite fill-you-up meals!

With cheesy ricotta and mozzarella, tomato sauce, fragrant seasonings and crisp Italian sausage, there’s nothing not to love. Except for the fact that you might – like me – have to wear a napkin bib to cover your best whites. What can I say, I’m a spiller.

Baked Penne Recipe

Just combine a bunch of pantry staples and you’ve got a perfectly delicious, hot meal for dinner with a little Italian flair. Serve it with a loaf of garlic bread and a big leafy salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, and dig in!

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Baked Penne with Italian Sausage

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

16 oz. penne rigate pasta

12-16 oz. Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

3 cups pasta sauce, divided

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Set a salted pot of water to boil. Add penne and cook according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, set a medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage, break up into small chunks with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and drain grease, if necessary.

In a large bowl, combine cooked sausage with ricotta, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups of the pasta sauce. Add cooked pasta to large bowl and toss gently to coat.

Coat bottom of a large baking dish with 1/2 cup pasta sauce. Add pasta mixture into dish and spread out evenly. Spoon remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake until golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!