Monday, July 5, 2010

Lasagna Noodle Bake with Sausage and Creamy Tomato Sauce

After running around like crazy getting the most out of summer and leaving town for the 4th of July, I'm finally home and able to cook dinner! So what do I make? A heart and soul warming pasta dish of course! On a cloudy, rainy evening I love a flavorful baked pasta. I chose to use penne pasta (since it's what I had on hand) and made a lasagna-style baked pasta dish with Italian sausage, red sauce, cream sauce and lots of cheese. Combining all of these different ingredients and baking the dish in the oven created a succulent dish that was just bursting with flavor! If you have lasagna noodles, or any short style pasta, you can use that instead. Have fun!!

Lasagna Noodle Bake with Sausage and Creamy Tomato Sauce
A feel-good, delicious baked pasta bursting with flavor and creaminess!
Serves 4-6

3/4 lb. penne pasta
1.5 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup ground Italian sausage
1/4 cup pancetta, diced (optional)
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
Fresh basil (optional)
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta two minutes shy of the recommended package directions. (It will cook the rest of the way while baking.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the Italian sausage and pancetta until almost cooked through. Add rosemary, oregano and red wine and stir until wine is combined into the meat. Remove meat from skillet and drain/cool on a plate covered with a paper towel. Return skillet to the heat. Add a little olive oil, then saute onions, green peppers and garlic for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Combine veggies and meat in a large bowl and set aside.

To make the cream sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir until combined, then add the cream. Bring up to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the pasta put a little spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9x9 dish. Add a layer of pasta. Top the pasta with some of the cream sauce. Then add the meat and veggie mixture and top with some more spaghetti sauce. Add a bunch of cheese. Repeat layers. End with the cheese on top and drizzle with any remaining cream.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Keep it covered with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove the foil and allow it to cook until bubbly and beginning to brown on the edges. Serve with Parmesan cheese and shredded basil. That's AMORE!

The layering process creates tons of flavor! In the first step, spaghetti sauce is spread on the bottom, followed by pasta and topped with cream sauce.

Then comes the meat and veggie mixture topped with more spaghetti sauce. Add another set of layers and finish with cheese and extra cream!

Recipe by Sarah Saubert

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