Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pizza Pasta Bake


I found a pasta casserole recipe, but it used Velveeta.  Seriously, if you are going to have the fat and calories of cheese, have the REAL thing!  So I made it much more complicated, but still pretty easy.  The idea I liked was to add some pizza sauce to flavor the dish.  Lee said, " This is delicious." and that it high praise and enthusiasm from him.

Pizza Pasta

1 1/2 cups penne pasta  I had some left over from another meal, but not enough.  I added some elbows and that worked out fine.
1 lb. Italian sausage.  I like the sweet Italian sausage.  Use the hot if you like things on the spicy side.
1 big or 2 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350.  Don't forget to do this as I did.  It will increase the time until eating can commence.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  If it finishes before the rest is done, just drain it and dump it into a 9X13 baking dish.


Cook the sausage.  It is easier to buy the bulk Italian sausage, but they didn't have any, so I bought the links.  Then you have to squeeze out little lumps into the pan, leaving the casing behind.  This is gross and reminds me of...well, we won't go there. 


Then cook the sausage until it is no longer pink, chopping it into smaller bits as it cooks.


While the sausage is cooking, dice the onions and add to the pan.  They should be done when the sausage is done.  Drain off the fat and add the garlic, sliced zucchini, drained can of tomatoes and the pizza sauce.  Cook until it is warmed up again and add the Ricotta.  Stir until the whole dish is creamy.


If you haven't drained the pasta, do it now.  You can add it to the sauce if the pan is big enough.  Mine wasn't, so I put the pasta in the baking dish and poured the sauce on top.  Gently mix the pasta into the sauce.


Spread the grated Mozzarella cheese on top.  Decide how decadent you want to be.  I added a bit more, because I like the way the melted cheese strings keep your serving attached to the dish and you have to go back and get another spoonful.  You can add Parmesan cheese on top if you are really cheese obsessed.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is heated through and starts to bubble.


Lee said we should have had garlic bread.  We should have, but we didn't.  I said we should have had a salad.  We should have, but we didn't.  There are a lot of vegetables in this dish and you can always add more than I did.  That's as good as a salad, isn't it?

This made a lot of food.  We will be eating it for a few meals.  I don't have a problem with that.  It is good and now I can just heat up dinner.  I have a bunch of other things on my plate and now I don't have to think up dinner for DAYS!

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