Baked Penne with Sausage is a delicious one pan dinner full of sausage, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and penne pasta. Everything is combined in a casserole pan and then oven baked for a delicious dinner!
Baked Penne Recipe Ingredients
This baked penne pasta recipe calls for ground mild or hot Italian sausage. However feel free to use whatever sausage or beef your family likes. You could sub out the sausage with some of these options:
- Ground beef
- ground Italian turkey sausage
- a 50/50 mix of ground beef and ground Italian sausage
I use a jarred marinara sauce from Aldi or Target, but again feel free to use whatever jarred marinara sauce flavor your family likes (or that you have in your pantry): mushroom, tomato basil, hearty vegetable. You could even try it with an alfredo sauce!
How to Make Baked Penne with Sausage
To start preheat the oven to 350 degrees, put a pot of salted water on to boil, and grab a 9×13 baking pan.
In a large skillet brown the sausage while crumbling. Drain any excess grease then add the 1 cup diced onions and 3 chopped garlic cloves. Saute until the onions begin to soften about 5-8 minutes.
Add the entire 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce and the drained 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes to the sausage/onion mixture. Give it a good stir to combine everything. Turn the heat off.
When the water starts to boil add the 1 lb. box of penne and cook for 5 minutes (to a firm al dente). You do not want to overcook the pasta because it will continue to cook in the oven. When the pasta is done RESERVE 1/2 CUP OF THE COOKING WATER. Drain the pasta and run cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking!
In a small bowl mix the 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese with the 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried oregano. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
Pour HALF of the sauce mixture and the 1/2 cup reserved pasta water over the pasta and stir to coat. Reserve the other half of the sauce for assembling the dish.
Time to assemble the Baked Penne!
In a 9×13 casserole dish pour half of the penne pasta.
Top that with half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella cheese.
Pour half of the remaining sauce over top.
Add the remaining pasta.
Top with the remaining ricotta cheese, then the remaining sauce, and finish with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese on top is melty.
Let the baked penne cool for about 5 minutes then serve with salad and bread.
Freezing Baked Penne
You can freeze this pasta bake and save it for later, just like you would a lasagna.
Make the dish completely in a freezer safe dish, but instead of baking it, let it cool in the fridge for 1 hour. Wrap the cooled dish completely with two layers of plastic wrap, going all the way around the bottom of the pan. Then cover in foil. You can freeze the pasta bake for up to 3 months.
Note: make sure to label the dish so you know what it is and when you frozen it!
When it is time to bake simply thaw in fridge over-night and then proceed with baking for 25 minutes covered with foil and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.
Baked Penne with Sausage Recipe
Baked Penne with Sausage
- 1 lb penne pasta boil to a firm al dente in salted water, about 5 minutes. RESERVE 1/2 CUP OF THE COOKING WATER BEFORE DRAINING!
- 24 oz jarred marinara
- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes drained
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 lb. mild or hot Italian Sausage cooked and crumbled
- 10 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp each: onion powder and garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese block, grated (if using pre-shredded cheese you will need 2 cups))
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Cook the pasta to al dente, about 5 minutes, reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water. Do not overcook the pasta at this point because it will continue to cook in the oven.Run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking and set aside.
- Cook/crumble the sausage and saute the onions and garlic. In a large skillet over medium heat cook/crumble the sausage. Drain any excess grease. Add the onions and garlic, saute until they soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the 24 oz. jarred marinara and 14.5 oz. drained diced tomatoes to the sausage mixture. Stir the entire jar of marinara and the drained tomatoes into the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Combine HALF of the sausage marinara sauce and the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water with all of the pasta. Stir to coat.note: if you forgot to reserve the pasta water, just use tap water.
- Combine the ricotta cheese with the spices/herbs. In a bowl stir together the 15 oz ricotta cheese, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
- Time to assemble the dish!In a 9×13 casserole pan pour half of the sauced pasta.Dot with half of the ricotta mixture.Spread with half of the mozzarella cheese.Top with half of the remaining sausage marinara sauce.Pour in the remaining pasta.Top with the remaining ricotta cheese, sausage marinara sauce, and finish with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Note: the dish can be frozen at this point. See the notes below.
- Bake covered for 25 minutes, then 10 minutes uncovered. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the cheese is melty.
- Cool & Eat! Let the dish cool for about 5 minutes then serve with salad and bread.
Make the dish completely in a freezer safe dish, but instead of baking it, let it cool in the fridge for 1 hour. Wrap the cooled dish completely with two layers of plastic wrap, going all the way around the bottom of the pan. Then cover in foil. Pop in the freezer. You can freeze the pasta bake for up to 3 months. Note: make sure to label the dish so you know what it is and when you frozen it! When it is time to bake simply thaw in fridge overnight and then proceed with baking for 25 minutes covered with foil and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered. Test the middle to make sure it warmed through. If not, pop it back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.