Simple, quick and delicious. This Cheesy Sausage and Pepper Pasta Bake is perfect for quick dinners, can be made ahead and bakes in 20 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large green peppers, large dice (about 1″ x 1″)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, loose
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 24-ounce jar pasta sauce
- 1 pound whole milk mozzarella, cut in small cubes
- 1 box rigatoni pasta
- salt and pepper to taste, plus extra salt for pasta water
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Set a large pot of water to boil, Be sure to salt the water, about 1/2 tablespoon of salt. While the water comes to a boil, prepare the sauce.
- In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Season with salt and pepper, then sauté the peppers and onions until softened but not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes. Once cooked, transfer the peppers and onions to a separate bowl then add the loose Italian sausage to the sauté pan.
- Cook the Italian sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces. (Using a potato masher is my favorite way to do this). Once the sausage is browned, add the peppers and onions back to the pan.
- Deglaze the pan with half the amount of white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan for any browned bits of sausage. Stir in the pasta sauce. Add the remaining white wine to the jar of pasta sauce, cover and shake, then stir in the liquid to the sauce. Turn off heat on the sauce and preheat the oven to 375°F while waiting for the pasta to cook.
- Once the pasta water reaches a roiling boil, add the pasta. Stir so the pasta doesn’t clump. Cook until just al dente according the box directions. Drain and stir the pasta into the sauce.
- Add half the mozzarella into the sauce, stirring to evenly distribute.
- Transfer the pasta into a buttered 9×13 baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella pieces. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Serve right away or reheat later and enjoy!
- If making ahead, prepare all the steps except for baking the pasta.
- This dish reheats well and is great as leftovers.
- The red pepper adds a little spice, but can be omitted without loosing much flavor.
Keywords: make ahead pasta, pasta bake, baked ziti, easy dinners, dishes with sausage and peppers