Sausage pasta bake with mozzarella is simple enough for a weeknight meal, but also suitable for company or potlucks. This combination of sausage, tomato sauce, ricotta, and pasta with blobs of fresh mozzarella throughout will drive your tastebuds insane.
If you’re looking for a delicious pasta bake for dinner, look no further. This one is phe-nom-e-nal! It’s creamy, spicy, chewy, saucy, and perfect for feeding a hungry crowd.
This dish does require dirtying a few pans, but don’t let that dissuade you from preparing this meal. It’s not difficult and the process goes by 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 sausage pasta bake uses my quick tomato sauce which is just what the title says – quick! It’s one hell of a sauce and takes about 10 minutes to prep and 30 to cook. You can make it ahead, double and freeze half for another time, or just make it and by the time you get your other ingredients set and ready with the oven preheating, it will be done. If you choose to use a jarred sauce, then use a good one.
The sausage is removed from its casing and is browned in olive oil. Red pepper flakes are added to give some heat. I use a full teaspoon, but you may want to start with 1/2 if you’re not into spice. I think life should be a little spicy, don’t you?
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. Once 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. In this case, shrinking is ok. In other cases…well I’m not going there.
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 so we don’t want to overcook beforehand.
Everything is combined in a large bowl then transferred 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 making your mouth water. 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 your family and you’ll be a rock star in their eyes.
Sausage Pasta Bake with MozzarellaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 cups Homemade Quick Tomato Sauce or good quality jarred sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes I use the full teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1 pound penne rigate or ziti I use De Cecco
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 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 some kosher salt.
- Add the tomato sauce into a large bowl and stir in the oregano. Add the sausage mixture, ricotta, cream, and half of the mozzarella 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.
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