This delicious and creamy Italian sausage pasta bake is pure comfort food that is full of deliciously seasoned meat sauce with hot Italian sausage and a creamy white sauce that is absolutely amazing. The two sauces combined with mini bowtie pasta and topped with mozzarella cheese make the most incredible casserole recipe you are sure to love.
Do you love pasta? I’m guessing you said yes. Do you think casseroles are the best thing ever invented? I’m going to assume you’re like me and you said yes to that, too. Well, if you love both of these things, then get ready for your dream recipe. This pasta bake combines the delicious flavors of an Italian dinner served up in casserole form. For years, I’ve said that if anything can be made into a casserole that it should be, and this dish is the perfect example of that. I love to make it for dinner when family comes over on the weekend or to bring it to potlucks where everyone can simply scoop out as much as they like. It’s an all-purpose dish that everyone always loves, and it’s so easy to make. You can’t beat that!
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
This dish starts with a simple red sauce loaded with zesty spicy Italian sausage. Then I pair it with a creamy white sauce mixed with perfectly cooked al dente pasta. Finally, I layer it all in a casserole dish, top it with mozzarella cheese and bake it to bubbly, melty perfection. What I end up with is a casserole that combines both red and white sauce with bowtie noodles and a kick of heat to create a dish that has everyone rushing back for seconds.
Why You’ll Love This Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe
- It has the delicious flavors of Italian sausage in tomato sauce along with creamy white sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
- It’s a delicious pasta recipe the whole family will enjoy – AND request often!
- If you’re like us, you’ll want to make this again and again.
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake Tips and Variations
I have a couple of tips here that will help you take this pasta bake from good to great. I also have some variations that I think you’ll enjoy, as well.
- Never cook your pasta past al dente. It will cook a bit longer once the casserole goes in the oven so if you cook it too long to being with, you’ll end up with mushy pasta.
- Stir frequently when making your white sauce to avoid clumping, sticking, or burning.
- If you want a mild version of this recipe, use regular Italian sausage and omit the red pepper flakes.
- You can use ground turkey or beef in place of Italian sausage.
- Try adding mushrooms to the cream sauce for more flavor.
- Use any type of small pasta you like. Penne, macaroni, and the like all work well.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
This casserole is an entire meal on its own, so I don’t recommend heavy sides with it for family dinner. However, if you’re making an Italian-themed spread, you can pair it with several other dishes for a flavor explosion.
- Side salad
- Crusty bread
- Garlic bread
- Cheesy bread
- Fettuccine alfredo – any variety
- Risotto orzo
- Pasta carbonara
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake FAQ
The following FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about this delicious pasta bake recipe.
What defines a pasta bake?
A pasta bake is any dish of pasta that’s baked with sauce and topped with melted cheese. It’s basically an Italian casserole. So, for example, lasagna is actually a pasta bake.
What are the most popular kinds of pasta?
- Angel hair pasta
- Bow tie
Is ground Italian sausage pork?
Yes. Italian sausage is made with pork and seasonings like fennel, garlic, and anise, among others and sold in loose meat ground form or in casings.
How long will sausage pasta last in the fridge?
You can store it for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Can you freeze sausage pasta?
Absolutely. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. You can also freeze it wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil in its original baking dish.
To reheat this recipe, place the pasta bake in a casserole dish, cover it, and bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly.
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake Ingredients
Like any good casserole or bake, this recipe only takes a few simple ingredients to make. You’ll find them all easily at your local grocery store, – and most, likely – in your pantry.
- Mini bowtie pasta
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded
For the Meat Sauce
- Ground hot Italian sausage
- Onion, diced
- Garlic powder
- Slap ya mama
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
For the White Sauce
- All purpose flour
- Heavy cream
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pasta water
How to Make Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
Making this recipe is incredibly simple. The sauces are both straightforward, and after they’re made, it’s a simple matter of layering. That’s it!
Step 1: Prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large pot of salted water over medium high heat, cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain and rinse the pasta and set it aside.
Step 2: Make the Meat Sauce
Cook the Italian sausage and onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the sausage is no longer pink and the onions are tender. Drain the mixture and return it to the pan. Then sprinkle it with the seasonings and stir. Finally, pour in the tomato sauce and paste, stir, and simmer covered, stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Make the White Sauce
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan, then stir in the flour until combined. Next, pour the heavy whipping cream into the pan and stir until combined. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the pasta water to the sauce and stir. Finish by adding the cooked pasta and stirring to combine.
Step 4: Bake
Pour the pasta and white sauce into the prepared baking dish followed by the meat sauce. Then, top with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread and enjoy!
Try This Delicious Italian Sausage Pasta Bake Today
This super easy pasta bake is loaded with flavor, not work. In just a few minutes and a few simple steps, you’ll have a rich, cheesy, meaty pasta bake that will have everyone coming back for more. It’s the perfect meal for a family dinner or any special occasion. Give it a try, and I know you’ll find that you feature it heavily in your dinner rotation.
More Delicious Italian Pasta Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Spinach Artichoke Pasta – A delicious pasta loaded with chicken sausage, spinach, artichoke hearts, and covered in a tomato based sauce.
Chicken Alfredo Pasta – A creamy, cheesy, and delicious homemade alfredo recipe that is loaded with tender chicken breast, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and Monterey jack cheese.
Kielbasa Sausage Pasta – An easy and tasty recipe that is made with kielbasa sausage and a flavorful vodka sauce.
And, try this Rigatoni Pasta Bake from Great Grub, Delicious Treats. This dish is hearty, cheesy, and made with a homemade tomato sauce.
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
For the Meat Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
For the Meat Sauce
- In a large skillet, or frying pan, over medium high heat, cook Italian sausage and onions until sausage is no longer pink and onions are tender. Drain and return to pan.
- Sprinkle with seasonings, stir.
- Pour tomato sauce and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Stir to combine, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
For the Creamy White Sauce
- Cook pasta per package directions for al dente, drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and then stir in flour.
- Pour heavy whipping cream into the pan and stir until combined.
- Add Parmesan cheese, stir until melted and add salt and pepper.
- Add pasta water to cheese sauce, stir.
- Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce, stir to combine.
- Pour pasta and cheese sauce into the prepared baking dish followed by the sausage mixture on top.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
- Serve with a side salad and garlic bread.
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