Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baked Pasta with Turkey Sausage

I LOVE My Kitchen Cafe. Love it, love it, love it. Say you get a hankeren' for some delicious banana bread, My Kitchen Cafe. Have a phobia of yeast and need someone to hold your hand and show you every little step of the bread/roll making process, My Kitchen Cafe. Want a wicked awesome pasta dish for dinner, My Kitchen Cafe. Rolls will be attempted later this week. This morning, banana bread. Tonight, Pasta. I tell you what dear friends, I ate the tomato sauce right out of the pan, despite the fact that it was boiling lava hot. The taste buds will grow back. So worth it . So so good. My first time using spinach in a dish. Ah, gasp I know. But it will not be my last. I have been inspired.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz. frozen baby spinach, thawed and drained well or 1- 9oz. bag fresh spinach
12 oz. precooked smoked chicken (or turkey) sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4" thick
8 oz. mozzarella cheese (4 oz. cut into 1/2" cubes and 4 oz. shredded)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook for another minute. Stir in tomatoes, oregano and basil then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add cream and cooked until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. (If using fresh spinach, add it to the pot of boiling pasta right at the end and cook until wilted.) Drain, and return contents to pot. Add tomato sauce, sausage, spinach and cubed mozzarella cheese to the pot and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop pasta into lightly greased 9"x 13" pan. Top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

*Freezable meal: Prepare recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

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