Italian Bake Casserole
Blue Ribbon Recipe
This casserole looks every bit as good it tastes! The aroma of the sausage and the onions, garlic and peppers all blended so well. My husband came into the kitchen and said it smelled like an Italian restaurant! I see this being a great recipe to take to a pot luck... everyone will love it! The Test Kitchen
1 lbItalian sausage links, sliced
3 cfresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
1bell pepper chopped
1 tspminced garlic
2 can(s)15 oz. Italian stewed tomatoes
1 tspItalian seasoning
8 ozrotini pasta, cooked al dente, drained
18 oz pkg shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
12 oz can pitted ripe olives, halved ( optional)
·salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Italian Bake Casserole
- In large skillet, cook Italian sausage until slices are no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
- Remove sausage from the skillet and reserve about 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
- In skillet, saute mushrooms, onions, bell pepper and garlic just under tender-crisp.
- In large bowl, combine sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper mixture, stewed tomatoes, Italian seasoning.
- Place a layer of pasta on the bottom of dish. Spoon mixture into a greased 3-quart or 9x13 baking dish. Add half of the mozzarella cheese and repeat layers.
- Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining cheese over top of casserole and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted on top.
- Variation: I always use spaghetti sauce instead of the Italian stewed tomatoes and season to my taste. I cook the sausage, onions, peppers and add to the spaghetti sauce. The sauce is cooked for 4 to 5 hours in the crock-pot and then layered in a casserole or 9x13 baking dish. I tend to use 2 cups of cheese because we are cheese lovers. To change the taste I will vary the cheese with the shredded Italian blend cheese along with the mozzarella cheese. I cook this until the casserole is heated throughout and the cheese is bubbling and melted.