I now consider this one of my go-to cold weather meals since I’ve made it so much in the past two months. It’s a “throw together in a pinch” kind of recipe that hardly takes any effort but packs in all those comfy “feel good” flavors. It’s total comfort food and boy is it good. Go ahead and cook it soon and I promise you it’ll become a weekly staple on your dinner table as well. I think I’ve made this so often that cooking it is pretty much muscle memory. That’s what happens with all my favorite recipes.
TIP: I usually use either bow tie or penne pasta since that’s what I love this sauce with the most. This time I used spaghetti since it’s all I had on hand. Def recommend penne though!
TIP: Grate your own damn mozzarella. Don’t cheat and use the pre shredded packs. Just don’t do it. It won’t melt easily and the texture will be off. Go the extra mile and grate that cheese fresh people. It makes a difference, I promise.
CREAMY TOMATO AND HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Bake time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
- 1 lb pasta (penne, bow tie or spaghetti)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large links hot Italian sausage (good quality) casings removed
- 2 tsp kosher salt, more or less to taste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tbsp parmigiano reggiano (good quality) Plus more for garnish
- 15-20 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 16 oz block mozzarella cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Cook pasta to almost al dente (about 1 minute short of being done). Drain but do not rinse.
- Heat a large pot to medium heat. Add in butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and sausage. Cook for about 10 minutes until onion is soft and sausage is browned and broken up.
- Add in salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, San Marzano tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Use a flat wooden spatula to help break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
- Add in cream, parmesan and basil. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add in pasta and stir. Transfer to an oven safe dish and top with the shredded mozzarella.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes. After cooked, turn oven to a high broil. Cook an additional minute or two until cheese has some color to it.
- Remove from oven and serve while hot with parm and extra basil.