Baked Penne with Sausage

Baked Penne with Sausage

Tonight I was in the mood for Italian. Which actually is a mood I'm in quite often. Nevertheless, I was longing for a nice, warm comforting bowl of pasta. I had picked up some Italian sausage at the store over the weekend and planned to add it to my jarred pasta sauce, until I realized I didn't have any. Huh, now what should I do? The sausage was already cooking and the pasta water was coming to a boil. I decided to make my own sauce and hope for the  best.

It actually ended up being the easiest thing I've ever put together, and it tasted amazing. Both my boys loved it, and my youngest usually protests when I make things from scratch. I know, he's an odd child. His brother and I haven't quite figured him out yet. He is so incredibly picky!

Anyway, I put this sauce together while my pasta was cooking, then mixed it up with some cheese, covered it with more cheese and baked it in the oven until it was ooey gooey. Hope you like it as much as we did!

1 pound penne pasta, or any other pasta shape you like such as ziti, rigatoni or farfalle
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
Salt to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the directions, taking it out about 2 minutes earlier than the suggested time. (The pasta will finish cooking in the oven)

While your pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook your onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Continue cooking until the sausage is completely cooked and no longer pink. Drain off any fat.

Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well. Season with salt to taste. Simmer over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes.

Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Pour the entire mixture into a large baking dish. Add 1 and a half cups of the mozzarella cheese to the pasta and mix well. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheese over the top of the pasta evenly. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until the dish is heated through and the cheese has melted.

Bon Appetit!

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