Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Italian Sausage and Pasta Bake

Prep: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings

8 oz ziti or mostaccioli pasta, cooked & drained
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 cups shredded Italian Blend cheese

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until browned on all sides. Drain, add onion garlic and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes or until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, mix well. Stir in pasta & basil, transfer to a 9x13 baking dish, cover & bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover, top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tips & Tricks:
For a colorful dish, use a combination of red, yellow, and/or green bell peppers. Italian blend cheese is a mix of mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, Romano, fontina and Asiago cheese. You can substitute with a combination of any of these cheeses or just use mozzarella. (I usually just use mozzarella & Parmesan, because that is what I have on hand.)

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