Recipe by manx777
Savory pasta bake. Serving suggestions include a chopped green salad or a marinated bean salad with an Italian vinaigrette, Fortunate to have a local sausage maker, who puts out this fantastic red wine sausages - they were the inspiration for this dish.
- 2 sausages, preferably red wine but sweet Italian sausages will work
- 2 cups pasta (rigatoni or penne work really well)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese or 1⁄2 cup romano cheese, grated
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped or 1 cup zucchini, grated
- 1⁄2 yellow onion, chopped
- garlic clove, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- basil (either dry or fresh)
- 1 (14 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- salt, to taste
- sugar, to taste
- pepper, to taste
Directions See How It's Made
- Put a large pot of water on to boil the pasta.
- In a deep skillet, brown the sausage, drain well, set aside.
- Drop in your pasta to cook when the water is boiling, cook to al-dente.
- In the same skillet that you cooked the meat, pour a Tbsp of olive oil.
- Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, then drop in garlic, fennel and bay leaf. Cook this mix for an additional couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the stewed tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce to the skillet. Blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning with basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Allow this to simmer on the back burner until your ready to assemble the casserole. Pull out the bay leaf from the sauce before assembling the casserole.
- Spray your casserole dish with non-stick spray. Drain the pasta and reserve a 2/3 C of the pasta water.
- Mix the meat in with the sauce and take off the heat.
- Now your ready to assemble the pasta bake. Put just a bit of sauce on the bottom, then put a half of the pasta, then a layer of your veggie choice, a scattering of cheese, then top with sauce. Repeat the layers, pasta, veggie, cheese and sauce. Top with any remaining cheese. Bring liquid level in casserole up to 2/3 with reserved water if need be. Bake this covered at 350 for 25 minutes, until bubbly.