Tuesday, March 1, 2016
So our daughter will be 18 years old in six days. SIX DAYS! I had the revelation the other day that we successfully raised a child from birth to adulthood with only a few hiccups. I feel like we've made such an accomplishment! And she's about to be an adult, so that means she'll move out soon, right? One person off the payroll! Woo-hoo! Seriously, though, she'll probably be here a few more years, and that's okay.
So I've made a lot of baked zitis in my life, and I usually don't stray from the traditional recipe. But I came across a recipe that used breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage. I thought it sounded interesting, so we gave it a try. And we thought it was fantastic! I'm calling it Sausage Pasta Bake. It was really pretty easy to put together, even with me making my own sauce. You can use the shortcut of jarred marinara sauce, or you can use my sauce recipe below. It's something that I'm sure we will have a lot. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE
1 lb breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 C marinara sauce (my recipe is below)
One 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 lb pasta, any shape (I used penne)
2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
QUICK HOMEMADE MARINARA:
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Drizzle olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red chili flakes, to taste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste
If you are making your own marinara sauce, put all of the sauce ingredients into a pot and whisk. Bring it to a boil. Cover it and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until it's thick.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Stir together the Ricotta, Mozarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and the parsley. Set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet and cook the onion until it's tender. Add in the sausage and the minced garlic. Cook the sausage, breaking it up as you go, until it's cooked all the way through. Stir the marinara sauce into the sausage mixture. Stir the pasta into the sausage mixture.
Pour half of the pasta into a 9 x 13 pan. Using a spoon, put dollops of the Ricotta mixture all over the pasta. Spread the remaining pasta over the Ricotta. Top with the remaining Mozarella cheese. Bake the casserole for about 20-25 minutes or until the pasta is hot and the cheese on top is melted and slightly browned.
Adapted from Picky Palate