Worknight Dinners: Baked Penne with Spinach & Sausage

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Weekend Cooking, Worknight Dinners
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baked penne spinach sausage 2

If you ever need to make dinner for someone you want to impress, without a) potentially screwing up said dinner cause the instructions are complicated or b) spending hours in the kitchen while your dinner guests drink wine, eat cheese and have fun without you, then you need look no further. When I found this recipe on for Baked Penne with Spinach & Sausage, I immediately knew that it would be right up my alley.

A little bit of store-bought pesto goes a long way towards adding unique flavor to the tomato sauce and when baked with fresh, hand-grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, you’ll forget that you’ve ever ordered pasta from a restaurant and probably never will again. It’s super easy to serve with a big fresh salad and will pair with just about any bottle of red, especially a California blend.

baked penne spinach sausage 3

The best part? It’s truly easy. A lot of Italian cooking involves chopping, slicing, dicing and stirring but with this dish, all you need to do is chop the onion, garlic and sausage, combine the sauce, throw it all together and pop it in the oven. You could even make this on the weekend, freeze it and pull it out during the week for a fast, fresh dinner.

While it bakes you can enjoy glass of wine. Or more realistically, you can pour that glass of wine, throw in the laundry, catch up on email, start the dishes and watch last week’s DVR’ed episode of The Office.

baked penne spinach sausage

Baked Penne with Sausage and Spinach
Author: 
Recipe type: Worknight Dinners, Weekend Cooking, Cooking for a Crowd
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Canola or olive oil, for cooking
  • 3 pieces sweet Italian turkey sausages
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup pesto (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 pound (16 ounce box) penne pasta
  • 1 10 oz. bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1½ cups grated part-skim mozzarella
  • ½ - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and cook the sausage, onion and garlic, breaking up the meat until the sausage is cooked through. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for ten minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the pesto and some salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it well and toss it with the spinach (coarsely tear the spinach up with your hands as you add it), mozzarella and about half the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Stir in the hot tomato sauce, which will slightly wilt the spinach.
  3. Divide among baking dishes or aluminum containers (it should be enough to fill one 9”x13” pan) and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan (at this point the dish can be cooled completely, covered and frozen for up to 4 months and baked from frozen).
  4. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes (40 minutes if frozen) until bubbly and golden.
 

 

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Easy to Drink Boxed Wine Duca del Frassino
    February 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    […] Baked Penne with Spinach and Chicken Sausage from In Good Taste […]

  • Reply
    Leslie
    May 12, 2009 at 3:00 am

    ohhhh, I am soooo excited. I bought myself this book for Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Jude
    May 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    The recipe does seem easy. I’d be tempted to fry up Italian sausages and eat it by itself, though.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella
    May 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    This looks incredible and perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having! 🙂

  • Reply
    Dorothy
    May 6, 2009 at 3:00 am

    OMG this looks soooo good! i need some NOW!

  • Reply
    Cate O'Malley
    May 5, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Always looking for new recipes to make on busy weeknights. This one looks deliciously hearty … and I love the cheese – yum!

  • Reply
    dandysugarsf
    May 5, 2009 at 3:00 am

    This one is right up my alley. Even though it’s just my boyfriend and I, dinners like this one automatically mean lots of easy meals for lunches and stuff.
    I love the pesto and the spinach and the idea of a healthy pasta noodle, it’s definitely a dish I will make!!

  • Reply
    Lisa (dinner party)
    May 5, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Great idea for entertaining!

  • Reply
    Jenn@slim-shoppin
    May 5, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Wow, that looks amazing. I am totally going to make this soon! I can’t wait. It’s something my whole family will eat (kids included!)

  • Reply
    Matt
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    ok Maris… you are going to think I’m an idiot… but what does al dente mean? Does it mean done?
    Also- I am totally trying this one. It looks easy, which is definitely my style.

  • Reply
    Joie de vivre
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    We had a temporary living situation like this when I was in high school while our house was being built. For us, it was Stouffer lasagna that we ate most nights. I think you got a pretty good deal eating at the Italian restaurant! This dish looks really yummy.

  • Reply
    jshively
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I do something similar for a new girl I am dating but I use veal and stuff pasta. They all think I spend hours in the kitchen when in reality I spend next to no time.
    Plus the real joy is everything can be done the day before or that morning and just reheated.

  • Reply
    Gudrun
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    this does look like a great mid-week dinner! My kids love sausage, perhaps I will have to put it into our plan sometime soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Love the new focus on worknight dinners. These are great recipes that come together easily and quickly, and of course rely on a well-conceived pantry!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    How funny. When my NY parents moved us to Texas when I was 7, we found a hole in the wall Italian joint, authentic, tasty, etc. that we went to a couple of times per week. And without exception, I ordered the baked ziti. For 7 years. Isn’t it the best?
    I love this dish of yours with the spinach and sausage. My two favorite additions to pasta just about.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Wow this looks really good. I’m thinking of making it next week. Hmm I’ll be sure to share photos with you too!! It won’t look as good as yours but maybe close 😉

  • Reply
    Sandie
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Have I mentioned that pasta and bread are my weakness? Seriously. I could eat pasta every day and never tire of it. That said, with a healthy dose of spinach and sausage thrown in here, at least I wouldn’t feel so guilty about eating more pasta! 🙂

  • Reply
    thatShortChick
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    this looks incredible. god, i love pasta.

  • Reply
    kat
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Thats my kind of pasta. Thanks for the chocolates. I can’t wait to get them, a perfect birthday gift!

  • Reply
    Pearl
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    looks like it’d be a hit pasta dish!

  • Reply
    Kerstin
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Looks really yummy and fast, and I love how it’s packed with spinach!
    What a great idea to post a worknight dinner every Sunday – I’m looking forward to it!

  • Reply
    elra
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    So delicious looking penne. I like the simplicity of it, perfect dish to make during busy week days.

  • Reply
    Sophie
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    MMMMMMMM…..Maris! This pasta dish looks amazing!!!!
    I love it! yummie!!

  • Reply
    beyond
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    looks like something i would eat for brunch, right now… mmmh.

  • Reply
    Cecile Yasay
    May 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

    We will definitely try this dish in my house this week. Thanks for sharing.

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