Baked Pasta With Sausage and Tomato Pesto

"The smoked Gouda can sometimes be hard to find, but it adds a great flavor and texture. The hot Italian sausage adds some spice. Got this one from "The Best American Recipes 2003-2004.""
photo by Matt M. photo by Matt M.
photo by Matt M.
Ready In:




  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the sausage and onion.
  • Cook, breaking sausage up with a spoon, for about 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently to cook onion evenly.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add marinara sauce and reduce heat to medium.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
  • Stir in pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  • Drain well.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Oil a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine pasta with remaining sauce, the Gouda or mozzarella, 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and spinach, mixing well.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan over top.
  • Bake for about 30 minute or until casserole begins to bubble and cheese is browned.
  • Serve hot.

Questions & Replies

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  1. addicted2food
    Just made this delicious recipe for the second time. First I would say to those cooks that used different cheeses...make it again with the smoked gouda ~ it's what makes this good recipe great! The first time we only had one 26 oz.(739ml) jar of marinara sauce but had some fresh roma tomatoes that we sauteed down with the onion/garlic (and a little bit of red wine) and it worked out well. Used 6 links of sausage ... not sure how much it weighed but it was enough also added an extra clove of garlic. Second time round we upped the spinach to about 10 oz. so if you like spinach you can use more. Also second time round we did use another jar of sauce (19.6 oz. of Lucini Robust Tomatoe Gorgonzola Sauce) ... it was more than enough. <br/>I agree that 2 - 26 oz. is quite a bit of sauce. Had a bit of mozza left so mixed it in with the parma for the topping. Initially didn't pay attention to how many servings this 1 lb. pasta made and was surprised how at how heaped the pan was! Second time I baked it in a 16" round pan ... it makes A LOT!! Company quality pasta dish.<br/>PS. Depending on the quality of your spicy Italian sausage I would fry up the sausage on it's own that way if it's too greasy you can take some of the fat out .... then carry on with the recipe.
  2. JOY1998
    I made my own sauce and doubled the recipe. My BF loved this dish. It was fun to make and absolutely wonderful to eat! I will definitely keep this on my list of dishes to make. I loved the smoked gouda and spinach. They were wonderful additions. Thanks for a great recipe!
  3. Paige
    This was fantastic! I used a shredded Italian blend of cheeses as I couldn't find any smoked Gouda. I also use hot turkey italian sausage to bring down the fat grams. It was very flavorful and easy to put together.
  4. Jan Go
    This was so good my DH said it was the best pasta dish he's ever had. I couldn't find a ready made marinara sauce so I made my own from one of the recipes in this website and it was SOOOO good. I had leftover pesto sauce so I mixed it in butter and grated garlic to spread on french bread to toast. yummmm
  5. sweetcakes
    We enjoyed this dish but I felt it called for too much marinara sauce. I would half it next time, and maybe put in more cheese and spinach. Thanks for posting:)



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