- Ready In:
- 1hr 15mins
- 1 lb Italian sausage (I like to use the hot, but mild or sweet works as well)
- 1⁄2 medium onion, diced
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, minced (depending on taste)
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
Pasta and Cheese
- 3⁄4 lb penne rigate
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese (I buy Frigo or similar brand in a ball shape, easier to work with)
- 3⁄4 cup parmesan cheese (save half to top the pasta)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (if you like it hot!)
- butter, for the dish
To make the Sauce:
- In a large pot, brown Italian sausage over medium high heat until cooked through. About 5 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic. Cook until opaque. About 3-4 minute.
- Combine tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt/pepper with onion, garlic, meat mixture and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook pasta according to package, generally about 9-11 minutes for al dente.
- Halve the mozzarella. Cut half the portion into cubes, and the other half into thin slices (should look like discs, which will go on top of the pasta).
- Combine drained pasta with sauce, cubed mozzarella, 1/2 the parmesan cheese, and a pinch of red pepper.
- Place the combined pasta/sauce/cheese into a buttered 9x13 pan (I like to use my Le Crueset, presents better at the table).
- Top with remaining mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes until the pasta is bubbly and the cheese is golden brown.
Join The Conversation
Delicious and just the right amount of heat! I baked mine for 30 minutes like the others said, and it was perfect. it smells fragrant as you're cooking it, and it delivers when you're done. Spice and ooey mozzarella cheese...yum. Fed my ziti-loving husband, my 4 year old son, my mom, and my dad, and they all love it. It's easy too; the first time took me a bit, as recipes always do, but the subsequent times were much faster, and it makes you look like a rock star.
This is great! The sauce especially will be made again and again. I used about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, which was perfect -- spicy, but not too hot. Next time I will cut my mozzarella cubes a bit bigger, because the ones I stirred in completely "disappeared" into the whole dish, and I had been looking forward to some gooey bites amongst the pasta and sausage. I forgot to butter the pan, but luckily it didn't stick! I baked it for 35 minutes, with the result a bit browner on top than pictured, so I think next time I'll pull it out after 30 min. Thanks, Team Rocco, for a keeper! (Reviewed for PAC '09)