Italian food is my favorite. We’ve established that with, oh, about 47 other recipes I’ve blogged so far. Ok, not that many, but I do have one for Pasta Ginaca, White Pizza, and Calzones that you can check out after you’re done with this one! There’s one pasta recipe that’s my absolute favorite. It’s comfort food, not only to eat but also to make because it’s not a quick one. It’s therapeutic for me to chop up all the veggies and take my time with it, plus the outcome is to die for. It’s also great for a crowd and has become a staple at Christmas and when we have company over (unless, of course, I’m making Company Chicken). This recipe took me a few times to perfect what ingredients I wanted in it because it’s a combination of a couple old recipes I used to make, but it was well worth the trial and error!
- 2 zucchini
- 2 yellow squash
- 1 large Vidalia onion
- 1 large bell pepper (sometimes I use 2!)
- 1 small eggplant (when it’s in season)
- 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (I like the McCormick grinders)
- Salt (for your pasta water)
- Pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- 1 box of penne
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- 4 links of Italian style smoked sausage
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 450. Dice your veggies and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and Italian seasoning, then toss with your hands to coat. Bake for 2o minutes, or until they start to brown just a bit on the edges.
Boil your water and add salt (pro tip: if you’re wondering why your stainless steel pots have water spots at the bottom, it could very possibly be because you’re adding salt before the water is boiling. Give it a minute and you’ll have perfectly clean pots!). Then add the entire box of pasta. Here’s another pro tip: if you ever wonder why your pasta gets mushy when you make a baked dish, it’s because you’re boiling it too long before you bake! Just take off a minute or two from the cooking time suggested on the box and you should end up with perfectly cooked pasta by the time you’re done baking.
While your pasta cooks, brown your sausage in a pan.
Drain your pasta and return it to the pot. Pour in the sauce and add your vegetables, sausage and 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella. Mix it thoroughly, then spray your baking dishes (I use two and instead of baking one of them I freeze it for another night so I don’t have to cook!) and spoon the mixture into them. Top with the remaining mozzarella and the parmesan and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.
I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do!