I’m a big fan of baked pastas, so when I saw this recipe in my Taste of Home magazine (the June & July 2009 issue) I couldn’t pass it up. I’m so glad I decided to make this, it turned out really well and gave us three nights of dinners.
I did have to make a substitution to this, however. My store must have been out of Italian sausage, one of the main ingredients to this recipe. So I used regular ground beef and while cooking it I added an Italian spice blend. I’m sure I’ll be making this again sometime, and I will try to find Italian sausage next time!
My entire family loved this, even my 2-year-old son. It makes a great family dinner when served with a nice fresh salad. We had a salad of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and green olives.
The sauce this recipe makes tastes great, and would be nice to use as a regular spaghetti sauce. I might try this sometime!
The original recipe in the magazine made two full 13×9-inch baking dishes of this casserole, but I divided everything in half (or close to half) when I made this for just one baking dish, and I have posted the recipe for just one baking dish below.
Penne & Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine, June & July 2009
3/4 pound uncooked penne pasta
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth, divided
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Minced fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside.
In the same pan, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and oregano; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in 1/2 cup wine (or beef broth). Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, sausage and remaining wine (or beef broth). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Drain pasta. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread half of the pasta on top of the sauce. Top with about 1 1/4 cups sauce and 1/2 cup of each cheese. Repeat the layers once more.
Cover and bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.