Saturday, January 10, 2009

Erica's Italian Pasta Bake

Serves: 6

2 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz. hot or mild Italian sausages (use turkey sausages for a healthier alternative)
3 sweet peppers (assorted colors)
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jar tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 can Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
12-16 oz. penne or other small tube-shaped pasta
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina or mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

1. Prick skins of sausages with a fork. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil over medium-high heat; cook sausages for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. (Sausages will not be cooked through.) Remove from pan, cut into slices and reserve.
2. Add remaining oil to pan. Add peppers, onion, garlic, basil, and oregano; cook, stirring often, for 7 minutes or until softened.
3. Return sausage slices to pan along with jar of pasta sauce and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm. Drain well. Add the pasta to the sauce in Dutch oven (or layer/mix into a large baking dish) and stir gently to combine.
5. In a bowl combine Fontina and Romano cheese; sprinkle over the top of casserole. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly colored.

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