I am not a huge baked pasta fan, or so I have discovered. This recipe looked delicious, and smelled delicious, but I was not in love with it. However, my dinner guests really liked it or maybe they were just being polite. Then again it was my older brother, so I think he would tell me the truth. Honestly, I have not ever had a baked pasta I have really liked ( besides lasagna, stuffed shells and manicotti). If you are a fan of baked pasta however, I think you might like this!
Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage from My Kitchen Cafe
*I used ground Italian chicken sausage from Sunflower Market and just precooked it** I also made this in two 9x9 pans, I cooked one, and froze the other!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni
10 ounces frozen baby spinach, thawed and drained well (can substitute 1 9-oz. bag fresh spinach)
12 ounces precooked smoked chicken (or turkey) sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, 4 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes and 4 ounces shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook for another minute.
Stir in tomatoes, oregano and basil; simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. (If using fresh spinach, add it to the pot of boiling pasta right at the end and cook until wilted.) Drain, and return contents to pot.
Add tomato sauce, sausage, spinach and cubed mozzarella to the pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop pasta into lightly greased 9X13-inch pan (or divide evenly between two 8X8-inch pans). Top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.