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Easy Baked Pasta

With a rich Italian flavor and a popular combination of cheeses, it's hard to resist this pasta dish. The crunchy Parmesan on top and the gooey melted mozzarella and perfectly seasoned sausage mixed throughout make this baked pasta dish a real treat and a perfect kids friendly meal!

I combined these ingredients to make a wonderful and convenient meal for a quick and simple dinner that everyone in my family will love. You will be surprised by the fact that you might already have all the ingredients needed for this recipe in your house. To make this dish healthier, sometimes I substitute the Italian sausage with homemade meatballs made from lean beef or lean chicken and the result is even better. Enjoy!

Posted on February 13, 2010

Ingredientseasy baked pasta

1 lb penne or ziti pasta, uncooked

3 1/2 cups quick Tomato Sauce

1 lb fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2 inch cubes and half thinly sliced

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

Pinch red pepper flakes

Quick Tomato Sauce:

4 tbsp olive oil

1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, casing removed and crumbled

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes in the juice, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1/2 tsp dry

6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tsp salt

Black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Cook the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.

3. Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce, cubed mozzarella, half the Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and pepper flakes.

3. Transfer the pasta to a baking dish (9 by 13 inch). Cover the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes.

To make the Tomato Sauce:

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the sausage until beginning to brown.

2. Add the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned.

3. Add the tomatoes and the herbs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

4. Season with the salt and black pepper to your taste.

The sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or it can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.




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