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.

Ingredients:

  • 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
Directions:
  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.
For information on more recipes and cookbooks from Bruce, go to www.aidells.com

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