Penne baked in sauce with chunks of Italian sausage and layers of gooey cheese. A simple, but flavorful, dish that the whole family is going to love.
This dish has everything I love in a recipe; it’s cheesy, simple, filling, cheap, cheesy. Yes, I said cheesy twice. Cheese deserves it.
By the way, I like to use organic pasta sauce and tomatoes (“Homemade” pasta Sauce From a Jar) but feel free use whatever you like best. You can even use homemade, 3-4 cups should do the trick.
Cast of characters.
My very favorite Italian sausage is actually a turkey sausage by Honeysuckle White (not a sponser). I prefer it because it’s healthier and it has incredible flavor, because who cares if it’s healthy if it doesn’t taste great, right?
To start, get yer pasta ta cookin in a big pot via the instructions on the box. Incidentally, any type of “chunky” pasta (ziti, rigatoni, mostaccioli, etc.) works great, too. Go ahead and use what you have on hand. Drain it well and return it to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, slice each sausage in 6-8 pieces. Tip: freezing it for 20-30 minutes makes it much easier to cut. Leave the casing on. When it cooks it turns into a little meatball. Brown it in a some olive oil until it’s cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Throw in the cooked sausage and everything else (but the cheese).
Finally, in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, layer half of the penne mixture, half of the cheese, then the rest of the penne, and the rest of the cheese. By the way, the amount of cheese is just a guideline. Less is not more when it comes to cheese, IMHO.
Bake uncovered until you achieve your idea of melted, cheesy, golden-brown perfection.
Let it stand about 5 minutes then dig in. Serve with a nice romaine salad and garlic bread.