I love baked pasta, but wanted to make something a little different from most of the recipes that I saw. I use homemade marinara and homemade pesto, but feel free to use jarred if that's what you have on hand. You can also use chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork if you wish. This was intended to make dinner for two plus leftovers, as there are only two of us in the house, and I wanted it to be easy enough to pull together on a weeknight. Serve with a green salad, garlic bread, and a nice glass of red wine. Cooking time includes prep and resting time.
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed (mild or spicy- your choice)
- 6 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 1⁄2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or jarred)
- 2 -3 tablespoons pesto sauce (homemade or jarred)
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1 dash chili flakes
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water; cook the pasta just to al dente. You don't want it mushy, as it will cook more in the oven.
- While pasta is cooking, brown the italian sausage in a saute pan over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces.
- Drain any accumulated grease and discard.
- Add the marinara sauce, pesto, italian seasoning and chili flakes. Stir, and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 -6 minutes, until the sauce comes to a boil.
- Taste, and add salt, pepper, or more italian seasoning as necessary.
- Drain the cooked pasta, and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the sauce mixture and 3 ounces of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
- Coat an 8 x 8 (or similar sized) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place pasta mixture in the baking dish, spreading to fill the dish evenly.
- Top with the reaining cheeses.
- You could make ahead to this point, and refrigerate until you are ready to cook, but if so, your baking time will be longer.
- Bake, uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
- Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.