Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Italian Sausage and Baked Penne

This freezes well; thaw in refrigerator before baking.

1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage (sweet and/or hot)
olive oil (optional)
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
28 ounces meatless extra chunky pasta sauce
213 ml can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seed
5 cups penne pasta
1 (284 g) package fresh spinach (trimmed and coarsely chopped)
3 cups shredded provolone cheese or mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated asiago cheese or parmesan cheese

Preparing the sausage and pasta:
Cut sausage into 1/2 inch chunks. I large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat, in batches and adding oil if necessary. Transfer sausage to a bowl.

Pour off any fat from pan. Add onions, garlic and red pepper, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in pasta sauce, tomato sauce, basil, oregano and fennel seeds; bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Return sausage and any accumulated juices to pan; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until sausage is firm throughout.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 6 minutes, add spinach;cook for 1 minute. Drain well and return to pot. Add sausage mixture and provolone/mozzarella cheese; stir to combine well.

Transfer to 2 greased 8-inch square baking dishes or 1 9-inch by 13-inch casserole pan. Sprinkle with Asiago/parmesan cheese. Cover dish with greased foil, greased side down.

Bake, covered with foil, in in 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or for 1 hour if from the refrigerator.

Serves 8 to 10


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