This Italian Sausage Baked Pasta is so comfort, gooey, and delicious that I strongly recommend you…skipping it if you cannot control yourself!
There’s a thing. We used to have a tradition – Saturday pasta which then changed to Friday (I know, a lot of people have Friday pizza while we normally make pizza on Saturdays. Complicated, eh?)
Anyways, we had been literally eating pasta every single Friday, perhaps with a few exceptions, for a couple of years.
No wonder that once (When I still had my old Russian blog), I managed to post over 100 pasta recipes in one year! Wow, I was young and productive!
It changed a few years ago when we both started to hit the gym to lose weight. This also meant making some corrections in our diet.
Besides, being a food blogger (Who also controls what to eat), I often have an argument – why make something good and probably sophisticated if not able to shoot it (Using up your pasta limit for a specific time frame). And, reasonably, why make something simple not intending to post the recipe on the blog?
Well, sometimes I envy
normal people (Read: who are not food bloggers) because they don’t have the connection between what they eat and what they post. No obligations. No struggle. Do you feel the same way?
It might sound confusing, but the idea is quite straightforward. Since we don’t eat pasta that often as we would do, I try to make only that recipes I will likely share on this blog (Like this Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta). That’s why I rarely repeat one idea within one year. And which is why Andrey is entirely happy every time I kindly agree to make his favorite shrimp pasta (Because who needs a simple classic shrimp pasta recipe, right?:) You can also read our story about shrimp pasta in this post – Shrimp Zucchini Spinach Pasta)
This Italian Sausage Baked Pasta is an utterly decadent dish. Sauteed onions, garlic, and sweet peppers mixed with mild Italian sausage (Sure, you can grab hot sausage), tomato sauce, smoked paprika, and herbs. On top of that, it’s loaded with cheese. Lots of cheese. Cheddar and mozzarella.
Italian Sausage Baked Pasta
Then this Italian Sausage Baked Pasta is baked to that golden perfection on its top (Do you support my opinion that that gooey-crispy-cheesy crust is the best part of any baked pasta?)
You might ask me, “What’s the problem, Ben? It’s absolutely okay to incorporate pasta in anyone’s diet (Of course if it’s high quality, durum pasta)?” Well, the problem is that neither Andrey nor I can limit ourselves to suggested one humble cup of pasta. I mean, seriously? One cup? We would rather have pasta once in a while but in decent amount!
Taking about this Italian Sausage Baked Pasta, if you like me, you should think twice before making it. Or just make and all it forgetting about all these calories and fats for god’s sake.
And certainly, I am not going to tell you how much of this skillet I had during one (One!) evening. But if you are not like me, this pan would be enough for 4 normal people.
- About 300 gr dry pasta (5 - 5,5 cups of cooked)
- 1 cup tomato sauce (I used with garlic and basil)
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- 1,5 cups grated mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, shopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sweet pepper, seeded and sliced (1 cup sliced)
- 3-4 mild Italian sausage, roughly chopped (about 350 gr)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- hot red pepper flakes, optional to taste (you may skip if using hot sausage)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano and thyme each
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente or better 1-2 minutes less. Drain reserving some water (1 cup) and rinse the pasta under running cold water.
- In a meanwhile, in a pan melt the butter and oil over low medium heat and saute the garlic with onions, 3 minutes.
- Add the sweet pepper and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Increase heat to high medium and place the chopped sausage. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomato sauce, seasonings, herbs, cover and cook for about 7 minutes. Off heat.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (365 degrees F).
- Mixed the cooked pasta with sausage sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella, and 1/2 cup cheddar. Mix well. Add a little of the reserved water if the sauce is too thick.
- Transfer the mixture into a baking dish/cast iron skillet. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil, sprinkle pasta with the remaining cheddar and mozzarella, and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.