Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

I love yummy comfort food.  Anything warm and filling basically can fit into the comfort food category for me.  For whatever reason, I haven't made any pasta dishes in a long while and am not sure why!  They are so simple to put together and everyone always loves them.  It's even easier when you do a pasta bake!

This dish really was delicious and made for a great filling dinner.  

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28-oz) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands (or crushed tomatoes)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni
10 oz baby spinach–I double the spinach and use 2 9-oz bags fresh (or 2 10-oz bricks frozen)
12 oz smoked chicken (or Jennie-O turkey) sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced
¼ inch thick
6 ounces fontina (or mozzarella) cheese, 4 oz cut into ½ -inch cubes and 2 oz coarsely grated
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook for another minute.Stir in tomatoes and oregano; cook until tomatoes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot.
Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes. Top with grated fontina and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.
If you freeze half in a 9×9 pan, you can put it straight from the freezer into a 400° oven for about 45 minutes, or until browned and hot throughout.

Recipe Source:  The Sisters Cafe

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