Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hearty baked pasta with spicy sausage...

We prepared about 8 new recipes this week - our favorites were the Chili Dog Chili, Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints and the Balsamic and Asiago Roasted Cauliflower.

It has just been in the past few years that I have grown to love pasta (can you believe that I wouldn't go anywhere near it growing up?!?) and especially enjoy it in baked dishes. Just going through the ingredient list for tonight's dinner, Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese, had my appetite in a tail spin and I almost burnt the inside of my mouth trying to sneak a taste when it came out of the oven.

While the pasta was cooking away, we browned up a few links of hot Italian turkey sausage with a good cup of chopped onions. A couple cloves of garlic are minced and tossed in when the sausage has browned, followed by a dollop of thick tomato paste. As we've mentioned before when using the paste, be sure to let it cook for a minute, before continuing to add the rest of the ingredients, as this intensifies the flavor. A couple cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with a pinch of crushed red pepper are stirred in and the mixture is left to simmer to let the flavors mingle.

The pasta and meaty sauce are combined and then layered with chopped fresh basil, shredded mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese in a large dish. The assembled dish bakes just long enough so the sauce warms back up and the cheese has a chance to melt. Saucy enough to keep the pasta moist, yet not dripping, this was hearty, warming and just spicy enough for us. If you don't groove on spicy foods, you could tone down the heat by omitting the crushed red pepper and using a sweet sausage if desired. If I had remembered to save some of the fresh basil, a sprinkling on top before serving would help make the dish pop!


  1. Joe - Baked pasta is sooo yummy. Sometimes I purposely bake it a little longer so the cheese gets nice and crusty.

  2. I always marvel and how much our tastes change each passing year. I too love baked pasta dishes. Your pic is most certainly drool-worthy.

  3. Oh, that looks really good...

    Today I am making your doggie bagels for some puppy friends! Do you know if they will last for me to mail a few to my new grandpuppy in Arizona...I live in New Hampshire????

  4. Ed - Oh, I'm so with you and those crusty pieces!

    Cynthia - Thanks!

    Sara - Yep, they should survive ok. You might want to sneak a note inside to store in the freezer or fridge to make them last longer!

  5. Thanks, Joe...I'll be making some more up...the "kids" here sure enjoyed them!!!