Cheesy baked pasta made with Italian chicken sausage, mozzarella, ricotta, Pecorino Romano and spinach (but don't worry, no one will care about the green stuff). Perfect to feed a hungry family!
This is also easy to make ahead, then pop it in the oven when you are ready to eat. If you like to freeze meals ahead for the month, this freezes well after baking. To freeze, I like to cut it in portions when it's cold, then wrap them in plastic and freeze individually. When frozen you can put them in large freezer bags and label them so you can take out as many or few pieces as you want at a time.
If you don't want to make such a large amount, you can easily halve this recipe and make in a square baking dish as I did in the photo above. Italian turkey or chicken sausage works great, use whichever is available near you. For a meatless version, try this Baked Ziti with Spinach recipe.
Spinach and Sausage Baked Pasta
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 3/4 cups • Old Points: 8 pts • Points+: 10 pts
Calories: 398 • Fat: 12.5 g • Protein: 27.5 g • Carbs: 44 g • Fiber: 6 g • Sugar: 1.5 g
Sodium: 636 mg (without salt)
- olive oil spray
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 8 oz fat-free ricotta
- 8 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded
- 14 oz uncooked sweet Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
- 12 oz high-fiber or low carb rigatoni pasta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves smashed garlic, roughly chopped
- 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
- salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 4 cups Quick Marinara Sauce
Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9- x13-inch baking dish with olive oil spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 6 tablespoons of the Pecorino Romano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, brown the sausage breaking up into small bits until cooked through; set aside. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté garlic about a minute, careful not to burn. Add spinach and season with a little salt and pepper and cook another minute. Return the sausage to the skillet and add the marinara sauce; cook on low about 2-3 minutes.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to instructions for al dente, but undercook them by 4 minutes less; drain and return to pot.
Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned.