We eat a lot of veggies in this house, but recently I picked up a few pounds of bulk hot Italian sausage and I was jonesing for a meaty baked pasta dish. We don’t eat a lot of meat, so 1 pound for this recipe is a lot for us. If you are a big meat eater, you can add up to an extra pound of sausage to make it extra meaty.
This recipe makes a lot, but, it keeps well for leftovers and you can freeze leftovers as well.
Meaty Baked Pasta
- 1 box pasta (whatever variety you like best), cooked per package directions
- 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
- 2 T. butter or oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup parmesan/romano blend cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
- In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
- Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
- Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
- Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
- Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!
This recipe made a 9×13 baking dish, which will serve 6-8 people a hearty portion.
If you need more veggies in your life, add carrots, drained diced petite tomatoes, more peppers, and even a few handfuls of spinach!
This meal was so satisfying. I’ve had leftovers for lunch twice now.
I ended up with extra sauce, and I plan on making calzones with it.