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The base of this recipe came from Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis. It is a great vegetarian meal or with meat added can be a main dish, I like it both ways. It makes a ton of food and if you make sure not to overcook the macaroni I think it would be a great freezer staple. My family and I like things spicy, so you may find that you need to cut down on the amount of red pepper.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 lb mushroom, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, I use the seasoned ones with basil and garlic
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (optional)
- 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained (1/2 10 oz package)
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup cream
- 1 -1 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1⁄2 cup romano cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, it will not be done. Drain pasta.
- While pasta is cooking, heat 1 1/2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage (if using, if not skip this step)until done, drain if needed, remove from skillet.
- Add the other 1 1/2 T of olive oil to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion are slightly browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce (if using, this is personal preference depending on how much sauce you like), spinach, red pepper and sausage (if using) and simmer for about 10 minutes on low. Add cream or milk and stir well. Add pasta and mix well. Add mozzarella cheese and mix again. Place the pasta mixture into a large baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, melted butter, Parmesan and Romano cheeses and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.