Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake

September 17, 2020

Looking for an easy weeknight dish full of fresh and flavorful ingredients and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese? This Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake is it!

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It’s finally happening!  Cooler mornings and evenings have replaced sweltering days and nights.  It’s been a blissful fall preview that has me craving fire pit nights (I’ve already had a few), hoodies, and warm meals like big bowls of soup and pasta.  All I’ve wanted lately is a pile of pasta on a plate.

And pumpkin, but we’ll get to that some other time.

My craving for pasta is noticeable once you open the cabinet holding our dry goods, revealing about three full boxes of pasta in all different shapes.  My favorite seems to be rotini.  I mostly use Banza rotini thanks to my Hungryroot box.  It’s a chickpea pasta and the corkscrew shape isn’t just fun to eat, it grabs all of that saucy goodness in your dish!  That’s why I like using it in pasta bakes!

Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake

Sure, it’s easy to crack open a jar or can of tomato sauce.  But I wanted to use fresh tomatoes in this pasta bake.  An homage, if you will, to our garden tomatoes that are seemingly on their way out for the season.  Another sayonara to summer that’s had me sneaking in some store bought tomatoes while we wait to see if the rest on our plant ripen.

Despite all of the tomatoes I used in this recipe, this pasta bake isn’t really saucy, but it has a lot of bulk and fresh flavor.  Along with fresh tomatoes, I also added in some fresh baby spinach that I picked up at the farmer’s market, onion from our garden, garlic, and sausage.

Grocery shopping every three weeks has me loading up on meat for our freezer.  Needless to say, we have quite a few portioned bags of sausage right now.  But sausage made a perfect addition to this fresh and delicious pasta bake!  It added great flavor to it while making it a meaty dish you can really sink your teeth into!

Making this dish is simple.  Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente, drain, and set it aside.  Since I had sausage links, I created my own crumbles by removing the sausage from the casings and browning and crumbling it in a skillet.  Once it was cooked, I removed it from the pan.

In that same pan, I added in my onion and garlic and stirred in the tomatoes.  Once they softened and starting breaking down, I added in some herbs and spices.  At the very last minute, before adding the sausage and pasta into the pan, I added my spinach and cooked it just until it wilted.

Then, I mixed everything up, spooned it into a casserole dish, and topped it with mozzarella cheese.  Then, the pasta went into the oven and cooked until the mozzarella got nice and melty and started to bubble, but not brown.  It was fresh, cheesy, and delicious!

Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake

Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. box rotini pasta
  • 4 sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red chili pepper flakes, just a pinch
  • 1-1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Salt a pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Drain pasta and set aside.
  3. Remove sausage from casings and heat in a skillet over medium heat.
  4. Break up the sausage into crumbled pieces and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  5. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook just until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook until the tomatoes start breaking down. Then, add in the herbs, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  7. Add the sausage and pasta into the skillet and stir to combine.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into a casserole dish.
  9. Top with mozzarella cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starts to bubble.
  10. Serve immediately.
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I was honestly a little nervous to serve this for dinner the night I made it.  My husband isn’t the biggest fan of sausage or “soggy,” AKA cooked, vegetables.  But I was pleasantly surprised when he put a heaping serving on his dinner plate and wanted leftovers for lunch the next day!

Did you make this Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta Bake recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!

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