What an easy dish baked pasta is to make! Using just 1 pot to boil the pasta, and a cast iron skillet to fry the sausage, and then bake the pasta, clean up is a snap! First, everyone loves pasta! Secondly, nobody likes to do a bunch of dishes. And finally, this is the utmost in cheesy comfort food!
Clearly, you will need to also use a cheese grater and a knife and cutting board to cut up the spinach, but that is just a few dishes to wash! While the pasta is baking, you will have time for a quick clean up and a glass of wine!
You can switch up this baked pasta by using bow tie pasta, or shells! Change out the meat to hamburger, and use taco sauce instead of pasta sauce, and swap out the cheese for cheddar! If you don’t like spinach, leave that out!
Oh, and make your own tomato sauce with this recipe!
This pasta comes together in no time and can be served in the pan it is cooked in!
- 1 16 0z. box of dried penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons salt (for pasta water)
- 1 lb of Italian Sausage
- 1 24 oz. jar of tomato pasta sauce
- 1 8 oz. container of fresh mozzarella mini balls
- 6 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 4 oz. freshly shredded mozzarella
- fresh parsley
First, put on a large pot of water to boil. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta in while you are frying the sausage, and cook to 1 minute less than the time suggested on the package. The pasta will cook more in the oven.
While pasta is cooking, heat up a cast iron skillet and fry the Italian sausage. Drain the grease out by using the back of a spatula to hold meat in. Then, using a few paper towels, pat the meat and wipe any excess grease out of the pan.
Drain the pasta, reserving at least 1 cup of liquid. Add the pasta into the pan with the sausage.
Now, toss in the red sauce and the spinach and mix just enough to evenly distribute the spinach. At this point, if the mixture seems dry, add a bit of the pasta water. Depending on red sauces, you may or may not need to.
Drain the liquid from the mozzarella balls and place them over the top of the bake, gently pressing them into the pasta.
With a small ice cream scoop or spoon, dot the ricotta over the top. Smooth this out to form a bit of a covering. (don’t worry if it is not pretty, because you will be covering it with mozzarella later!) Sprinkle the Italian Seasoning and granulated garlic over the top of the pasta!
Now it is time to cover with foil and place in a 350 F degree oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes, and then spin the pan. Set for another 15 minutes. Watch for bubbling. All ovens vary, so it could take another 10 minutes.
Once it it is bubbling, pull the pan out of the oven and cover with shredded mozzarella cheese. Return pan to oven and bake until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown. Pull pan out of oven and let set up for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
Keywords: pasta bake, pasta, easy dinners, family meals,