This is one of my all-time favorite pastas.
It's got the down-home, easy-to-make-ahead, hearty feel of a lasagna, but is way, way easier to make. Plus, anytime sausage and charred peppers are together, I'm interested. They are such a good combo!
You can use any kind of noodle you want in this, but I would recommend something meaty. Since the sausage and peppers are so substantial, and everything gets baked together, you'll want a noodle that will be able to withstand some roughing up. Whatever noodle you choose, be sure to undercook it! It will get softer as it bakes.
Can I make this ahead?
Yes! This is a great thing to assemble ahead of time and bake just prior to serving. Follow the directions as written, but don't bake it yet. Put the assembled dish in the fridge. When you're ready to bake it, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake - covered - for 45 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 10. If you're making ahead, I'd recommend using the full 4 1/2 cups of marinara.
Can I freeze this?
Yes, and you can bake this straight from the freezer. Assemble the sauce and noodles together, top with shredded cheese, and freeze in an oven-safe dish. When you're ready, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake - covered - 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until heated through. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Like lasagna, this is a really good thing to make two of and freeze one for a future dinner.
Baked Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- 1 pound noodles (meaty noodles like gemelli, campanelle, or fusilli, are best for this)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed if needed
- 3 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozarella
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook noodles according to package directions in a large pot of salted water and drain a few minutes shy of al dente. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the sausage and brown for 5 minutes, breaking up as it cooks. Remove to a plate. Add sliced peppers and onions to the dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes, until charred. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute more. Return the sausage to the pan and pour in chicken broth. Stir to loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cooked noodles and marinara. Top with shredded parmesan and mozzarella, and bake 10-15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Serve hot.