Sausage pasta bake with mozzarella is simple enough for a weeknight meal, but also suitable for company or potlucks. A combination of sausage, tomato sauce, ricotta, and pasta with blobs of fresh mozzarella throughout.
I’m grateful my uncle Tony taught my husband and I how to make homemade sausage. When we make it, we don’t mess around. We make an average of 15 pounds and as you can imagine, that’s a lot of sausage! We make patties, sausages links, and stuff 1-pound portions into freezer bags perfect for a dish like this one.
Don’t think you have to make homemade sausage for this dish. Using good quality Italian sweet sausages is perfectly acceptable and it’s what I use when homemade isn’t available. Just remove the meat from the casings and you’re good to go.
This dish does require dirtying a few pans, but don’t let that dissuade you from preparing this meal. It’s not difficult and it goes quickly. One pot meals are great and all but sometimes you have to dirty a few more. It’s worth it as you will see.
This uses my quick tomato sauce which is just what the title says – quick. Saute an onion in a bunch of olive oil, add the garlic and seasonings, then tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes and you have a hell of a tasty sauce.
The sausage is removed from its casing and browned in olive oil. Red pepper flakes are added to give some heat. I start with 1/2 teaspoon, but using a full teaspoon will make it interesting. You choose how much you want.
When the sausage is browned and broken up, the spinach is added and cooked just until it starts to wilt. You may not think your skillet can hold the amount needed, but it will. When it starts to wilt, you can add more. Don’t shrink it down to nothing because it’s going to shrink more when it’s baked. Basically, just toss the spinach until it’s coated with the oil and remove from heat.
The pasta is cooked until it’s al dente. Check out my post on how to cook pasta for some good tips. Remember, we’re going to coat the pasta and bake it. We don’t want to overcook beforehand.
Everything is combined in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture into a baking dish. I use a 9×13 baking dish and it holds everything perfectly.
Did you think I was done? Oh no! Now we add fresh mozzarella, tucking it into the pasta. When you scoop this out, little blobs of mozzarella are exposed and it’s a wonderful surprise for your family or guests. Not only are fresh mozzarella slices tucked into the dish, it’s also scattered on top and your inner kid will come out fighting for those gooey blobs!
For more pasta goodness, check out:
- Sausage with broccoli and pasta
- Baked rigatoni with three cheeses
- Creamy fettuccine with peas and ham
- Angel hair with sauteed tomatoes
- Spaghetti with garlic butter and cheese
- Peruvian Pesto
- Spinach Pesto
Make this for you family and you’ll be a rock star in their eyes. You got this!
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Sausage Pasta Bake with MozzarellaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 cups Homemade Quick Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1 pound penne rigate or ziti I use De Cecco
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cut into 1” pieces
- Preheat oven 400 degrees.
- In large skillet, heat olive oil and add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cook, breaking the sausage up with a spoon until the sausage is browned. Add spinach in batches until what you added is just wilted, then add more until all the spinach is added and just wilted. Don’t cook it down to nothing as it will continue to wilt when the sauce is added and it’s baked. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Add the tomato sauce, sausage mixture, ricotta, and half of the mozzarella in a large bowl and mix until combined. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Add the pasta and mix until combined.
- Transfer into a 9x13 baking dish. Scatter the remaining mozzarella on top and press them gently on top of the pasta.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until bubbly and golden on top. Let stand for 10 - 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! Mangia!