Baked penne with sausage, tomatoes & ricotta

Baked Penne with sausage, tomatoes and ricotta
Makes 4-6 Servings

This simple baked pasta has the flavor and character of lasagna without all the work and with a lot less fat. You can make it up the night before a party or special dinner, refrigerate it, and bake it the next day.

Add 20-25 minutes to the baking time. This recipe can be varied easily. You can mix in a half cup of fresh goat cheese, such as Laura Chenel's.


  • 1 pound dried penne or other tubular pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian-style sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped spinach, or 1 box frozen
  • 1 28 ounce can Italian-style tomatoes diced
  • 1 pound low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ¼ -inch ribbons
  • 3 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼- inch slices
  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2. Cook the penne in a large pot of slated water until al dente, about 10 minutes, and drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sausage and spinach with the tomatoes, ricotta, 2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano and basil. Add the cooked, drained penne and mix well.

  4. Transfer the pasta to a 9 by 13- inch baking dish. Lay over the sliced mozzarella and sprinkle over the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and nicely browned.
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