Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

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Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage www.RadMomCoolKid.com

This Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage is one of our favorite weeknight meals because it is super easy to make, lasts two nights, and everybody in the fam likes it!

As the kids have gotten older the after-school activities have gotten more intense. Between piano, dance, soccer, cub scouts, and activity days we are always headed somewhere. Wednesday night is the crazy night where we have multiple activities going on and no time to make dinner. We ALWAYS make a big meal on Tuesday so we can eat a healthy, home-cooked dinner at some point during the craziness that is Wednesday!

Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage www.RadMomCoolKid.com

Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

1 lb. penne pasta (we like this mini version)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 carrots, sliced thin
4 oz. mushrooms (our kids are shroom-phobic so we either dice them super small so they don’t notice or cut them in big slices so they can pick them out)
4 cloves garlic, minced (we love garlic)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (we buy a package with 5 links, divide it, freeze half)
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil pasta in a large pot until al dente. Reserve 1/2 c. pasta water, drain pasta.

While pasta is cooking:

Cook sausage in a large, oven-safe skillet. Break the sausage into bite-sized pieces with a spoon as it cooks. When it is cooked through remove and reserve it in a bowl.

In the same pan, saute onion, carrots, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds.

Add cooked sausage to vegetables, stir in sun dried tomatoes, pasta and pasta sauce.

Top with cheese and place in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

This meal is great with a big green salad and some yummy bread. We usually buy a loaf of French bread from WalMart – it’s about $1 for a huge loaf that lasts our family of 5 for 2 meals!

*A note about the oven-safe skillet – Luke and I are still using the set of Belgique stainless steel, copper bottom pans we got for our wedding. They are great quality and we use every pan in our set often. We have a 12-piece set similar to this set, except ours has copper bottoms, like this set. When it comes to pots and pans you get what you pay for – the steep price tags up front are worth it, though, as our first set has been used daily since 2003 and is still in perfect condition!

We recently started collecting some Calphalon hard-anodized pots and pans and I’m very happy with the quality, too.

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