Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
I wanted to make a few things ahead for the holidays when I will be having family around. Things that I could pop into the freezer and just bring out and cook without me having to spend hours working in the kitchen.

I don't think that is going to be happening now with this new variant of the Virus that is going about. Its been more than three months since we were all vaccinated and I think we need boosters now to feel and be safe. In any case I have one delicious casserole in the freezer for some future date!!

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
 Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce is a really delicious sausage and mozzarella bake that the whole family will love.

Not only is it really tasty, but its also very simple to make and doesn't use things that are ridiculously out of the ordinary. In fact, I consider this to pretty much be a store-cupboard recipe  because, for the most part, it used store-cupboard ingredients!

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 

I adapted the recipe from one in the book entitled, Seriously Simple by Diane Rossen Worthington.  I have had several of Diane's books for years. My boss at the manor loved her recipes which is where I got turned onto them.

They are recipes that are delicious, simple to execute and that always turn out.  Of course I had to leave my originals behind in the UK, so I am slowly replacing them one at a time. This was the first one I replaced.  It was always my favorite of her books.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
And this is why.  On the back cover re only six words.  Seriously FAST. Seriously DELICIOUS and seriously SIMPLE.

I am all for that style of cooking!  It should be my mantra!  I mean really.  Yes, I am that lazy, but I still like to eat good food. Anything that makes that promise works well for me!

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 

Simple ingredients put together in a simple and most delicious way. 

For the Sauce:
  • spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • brown skinned cooking onions
  • garlic cloves
  • jarred marinara sauce
  • basil pesto
  • salt and black pepper to taste

You will also need:
  • penne pasta
  • mozzarella cheese, or smoked gouda (I used mozzarella)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • baby spinach leaves

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
In the original recipe Diane suggested using 26-oz boxes of Pomi brand marinara sauce. We don't have that here, so I just used a regular good quality jarred marinara sauce.

I also used a good refrigerated fresh basil pesto. It really does add a nice flavor to the sauce.

Spicy Italian sausage. Just use the best that you can buy. I used PC free-from Italian sausages.  They are the best that is available here.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
The pasta I used was Barilla brand. A whole small box, which is a pound. I used Galbani Mozzarella cheese, and I grated my own Parmesan fresh from a blog of real Parmesan that I had gotten at the Super Store a few months back.

Also I remove the stems from my fresh baby spinach.  I don't like them in cooked dishes, although I am find with them in salads. But you do as you like. If they don't bother you, then no need to remove them.  

I am sure you could also use frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 

Very, very easy to make.  You begin by making a lush and rich spicy tomato pasta sauce, using jarred marinara sauce.  

Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble it into a large saucepan.  Brown over medium high heat, breaking it up with a fork, until it is no longer pink inside.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
Peel and finely chop your onion, adding it to the browned sausage in the saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the onion has softened. You don't want it to brown.  Then add the garlic, also peeled and finely minced.

You only need to cook the garlic for a minute before adding the marinara sauce (both jars.)  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to thicken.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 

At that point you can stir in the pesto and season the sauce to taste with salt and black pepper. I use fine sea salt and I grind my pepper fresh. Set aside.

Cook your pasta according to the package directions, just to al dente. The time will vary according to the brand of pasta you use.  Drain it very well when done and then return it to the saucepan.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 
Spoon a bit of the sauce into the bottom of your baking dish and then stir in the remaining sauce, spinach, the mozzarella and  a portion of the Parmesan cheese into your cooked pasta. Mix everything together well.

Pour or spoon into your buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remainder of the Parmesan cheese, scattering it evenly over top. Bake in the preheated oven for half an hour, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is turning a golden brown.

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce 

And that's it, the casserole is done and ready to serve!  And let me tell you, this is incredibly delicious!  It makes for a fabulous party dish as well as being a great dish to take to pot luck suppers.

Very family friendly, all you need on the side is perhaps a salad and some crusty bread  Its a great one-dish meal for the holidays and larger family gatherings!

Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce

I will be disappointed if my son and his family can't come over for Christmas, but at the end of the day I just want everyone to be and feel safe.  It is probably more prudent to wait until we have all had boosters and things with the virus have calmed down a bit, rather than put everyone to risk.

I just hope he understands. I would never want to hurt his feelings or for him to think I don't want him here because nothing is further from the truth.  We have been 9 years without seeing each other, I guess a few more weeks won't hurt.  Sigh . . .  

We will just have to do a big family face time on Christmas day.


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1 comment

  1. I so wish you could have brought your recipes from the UK or had someone send them to you later. Breaks my heart. This looks good. We do lots of sausage/pasta but having the bake is a good idea.


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