Sunday, July 9, 2017
Make Ahead Italian Sausage and Pasta Bake
Make Ahead Italian Sausage and Pasta Bake 1 1⁄2 lbs Italian sausage (mild or hot) olive oil (optional) 2 onions, coarsely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 large sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped 28 ounces meatless extra chunky pasta sauce 213 ml can tomato sauce 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon fennel seed 5 cups penne pasta 1 (284 g) package fresh spinach (trimmed and coarsely chopped) 3 cups shredded provolone cheese or 3 cups mozzarella cheese 1 cup grated asiago cheese or 1 cup parmesan cheese Cut sausage into 1/2 inch chunks. I large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat, in batches and adding oil if necessary. Transfer sausage to a bowl. Pour off any fat from pan. Add onions, garlic and red pepper, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in pasta sauce, tomato sauce, basil, oregano and fennel seeds; bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Return sausage and any accumulated juices to pan; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until sausage is firm throughout. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 6 minutes, add spinach;cook for 1 minute. Drain well and return to pot. Add sausage mixture and provolone/mozzarella cheese; stir to combine well. Transfer to 2 greased 8-inch square baking dishes or 1 13x9-inch dish. Sprinkle with Asiago/parmesan cheese. Cover dish with greased foil, greased side down. To serve: Bake, covered with foil, in in 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or for 1 hour if from the refrigerator. This freezes beautifully (thaw in refrigerator before baking).