You know those times that you know you should eat something healthy, but you’re craving comfort food? When you know that what you need is some veggies, but what you want is cheesiness?
This dish is made for those days. It’s cheesy pasta goodness, but with a ton of vegetables thrown in, and sausage for good measure!
This is probably one of our favorite meals. We make it at least once a month, and whenever I ask Logan what he wants for dinner next week, this nearly always tops his list. This is all the more impressive when you know that he doesn’t love broccoli to begin with.
This is based on a recipe from Cook Yourself Thin, but with my own personalizations!
First, cook broccoli in boiling water with salt and garlic cloves.
After about 5 minutes, remove the broccoli and set aside in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Remove the garlic (toss that) and cook the pasta in the water.
If you’re adding other veggies, go ahead and cook anything that needs cooking. This time I added peppers, so I sauteed them here. (I also used spinach, which I added raw to the mixture before baking.)
While those are cooking, slice your sausage.
When the veggies are done, add them to the broccoli!
In the same pan from the veggies, brown the sausages (if cooked) or cook (if uncooked).
Combine the sausage, veggies, pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, beans, broth, salt and pepper.
Put the mixture in a 9×13 dish – this one is extra deep which works well is you’ve loaded it with veggies!
Sprinkle mozzarella, breadcrumbs and romano cheese on top.
Bake until browned on top, about 25 minutes!
So cheesy and filling, but packed with veggies!
SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 head of broccoli cut into small pieces (or about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 lb bowtie, rotini, or other small pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb turkey or chicken sausage (uncooked or precooked – I use Sam’s Club Daily Chef mozzarella and garlic chicken sausage)
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2/3 lb skim mozzarella, grated
- 1 c skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 c chicken broth
- 1/2 romano cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- other veggies as desired
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a large pot, boil water with 1/2 tsp salt, the add peeled garlic cloves and broccoli. Simmer broccoli for about 5 minutes, then remove with slotted spoon. Discard the garlic and put the broccoli in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook two minutes shorter than the box says (we’re aiming for al dente, it’ll cook a bit more while baking).
- If you want any other veggies (peppers were a hit this most recent time!) Go ahead and brown them in a pan. Once those finished, slice the sausage and brown them too. When browned (3-4 minutes) add to the broccoli.
- When each of those are done, add to the mixture. Then add the cannellini beans, chicken broth, pasta, 3/4 c of the mozzarella, ricotta, salt and pepper. Toss to combine – make sure the ricotta gets spread evenly over everything! I also added a couple handfuls of raw spinach here too – just one more way to incorporate veggies!
- Put in the baking dish, and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, remaining mozarella, and romano over the top. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
- Bake for 25 minutes until heated a the tips are turning brown on top.
If you want to make this and freeze it, stop after step 5. Let it return to room temperature before covering and freezing!
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