This recipe had me at pasta and sausage. Who doesn’t love an Italian style bake?! It’s easy and IT’S DELICIOUS! This one seems like it has a lot of steps but it’s actually pretty effortless. I was impressed with how nicely each step came together and even more impressed with how crazy my children could get when I had 10 minutes between steps to rest.. Cooking with kids in the house is no easy feat, which is why I really enjoy these types of recipes that give me short bursts of time to give them some attention. The only thing that turned Perry off a bit was how this pasta dish reheated the next day for lunch. I will let him explain it in his rating/review, but I believe what happened to him is because of microwave user error. I did not have the experience he did but that might be because I heated mine up in the oven. I found it to be wonderfully creamy as a left over.
“When Kels first served this it was awesome. The pasta was perfect, the sausage was savory, the tomatoes were sweet/tangy and the sauce was creamy. What happened the following day is the reason I am giving this one four stars. Don’t get me wrong it was still delicious, but the texture changed which threw me off. It was so creamy the night before that I was a little disappointed when it took on a grainy ricotta texture after being reheated. I still enjoyed it but be informed that when you make this the leftovers might take on a new identity. I would definitely eat this again even as a left over!”
Serves: 6 Calories: 400 per serving Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 10 oz whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 lb Italian chicken sausage
- 1 6 oz. bag baby spinach
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato pasta sauce, we used a sweet basil variation
- 1 container plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk, we used 1%
- 1 and 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, we used reduced fat
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta. You don’t want it to be cooked completely because you are going to bake it. You still want a little crunch when you strain it. (DON’T STRAIN UNTIL YOU READ STEP # 6)
- Spray a large pan with cooking spray and cook sausage over medium heat until cooked through/browned (approximately 15 minutes).
- Add in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Turn off heat, remove sausages, and scrape what sauce and garlic is left in the pan into a bowl.
- Slice the sausage into bite-sized disks.
- Place the spinach in the bottom of your strainer. When pasta is done, pour pasta and pasta water over the spinach allowing the spinach to wilt.
- Pour pasta, sausage, spinach, and tomatoes into bowl with the garlic.
- Add tomato sauce, yogurt, milk, 1 cup of the cheese, and spices. Mix very well.
- Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover dish with foil.
- Cook for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil, cook for an additional 10 minutes.