This Italian Sausage Penne Casserole is loaded with deliciously seasoned Italian sausage, lots of cheese, and penne pasta and baked until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
If you’re looking for an easy, hearty dish to serve for a quick family dinner or to make as an easy addition to potlucks and get-togethers, then look no further. This delicious pasta bake has been a staple in my kitchen for years, now, and it’s easy to see why. Read on, and you’ll discover a simple recipe that can satisfy even the biggest eaters without having to spend a ton of time in the kitchen. In fact, this recipe is so easy that you’ll be in and out in no time. That’s why I made it so often when my kids still lived with me. It made an easy family dinner, and the leftovers were great for either dinner the next night, or more likely, being devoured by my kids and their friends after school. No matter the occasion, this one is always a great recipe to make when you need great food in just a little bit of time.
Italian Sausage Penne Casserole
Nothing beats easy and delicious, and that’s exactly what you get with this recipe. Perfectly cooked, al dente penne is combined with a simple meat sauce, zesty, hot Italian sausage, and tons of cheese to create a hearty pasta bake that’s full of flavor while being simple to make. Using only a handful of ingredients, you’ll end up with a delicious dish that’s perfect for anything from family dinners to parties.
Why You’ll Love This Italian Sausage Penned Casserole
- It’s so cheesy and flavorful, and it’s super easy to make.
- It’s a hearty and delicious pasta recipe the whole family will enjoy.
- It uses a handful of simple ingredients that are easily found at your local grocery store.
Italian Sausage Penne Casserole Tips and Variations
Even recipes as easy as this one have their little secrets to help you make them even better. I’m sharing those along with some great variations with you today.
- Never cook your pasta past al dente. It’s important to retain that slight firmness so the noodles stand up to mixing and further baking.
- Always drain your sausage to avoid an overly-greasy casserole.
- Always spray your baking dish with nonstick spray. Cheesy recipes like this can stick to even “nonstick” dishes.
- Use your favorite pasta sauce to save even more time and vary the flavor of the dish easily.
- Use mild sausage if you don’t like spicy food.
- Any short noodle will work in this pasta dish.
- You can use ground beef, chicken, or turkey and simply add a little Italian seasoning to the sauce.
What to Serve with Italian Sausage Penne Casserole
This dish has all the classic flavors that we love in any Italian dish. It’s also super hearty. I recommend serving it with sides that you’d normally serve with any hefty Italian meal.
- Crusty bread
- Side salad
- Your favorite vegetables
Italian Sausage Penne Casserole FAQ
If you have questions about this dish, then read on. The following FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about this delicious pasta bake.
Can you freeze cooked pasta in sauce?
You sure can. Simply chill your dish in the refrigerator and then transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. If you’re making this ahead of time, you can also wrap the entire thing in its original container in a double layer of cling wrap and then a layer of foil and freeze.
Do you bake pasta covered or uncovered?
Most recipes generally call for a combination of both. Pasta bakes like this and dishes like lasagna are first baked covered so everything can get hot and bubbly without the top of the dish burning. Then, the cover is removed and the dish is cooked a bit more so the cheese can fully melt and become golden.
Can you use mild Italian sausage in this recipe?
Absolutely! I use hot sausage because I love that kick of heat, but mild works extremely well.
How long do pasta bakes last in the refrigerator?
You can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store your leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze it in its original dish wrapped in a double layer of cling wrap and a layer of foil, or transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to 3 months.
To reheat, place it in a baking dish, cover, and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees or until heated through.
Italian Sausage Penne Casserole Ingredients
It only takes a handful of simple ingredients to make this dish. You’ll find them all easily at your local grocery store.
- Penne pasta
- Hot or mild Italian sausage
- Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Onion, chopped
- Cloves of garlic, chopped
- Diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How to Make Italian Sausage Penne Casserole
Making this recipe only takes a few minutes and a few simple steps. It’s as easy as shopping for the ingredients.
Step 1: Prep
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Step 2: Cook the Sausage
Remove the casing from the sausage and cook over medium heat in a large skillet, crumbling as you cook, until the sausage is completely cooked through. Drain the grease, reserving 2 tablespoons, and set it aside.
Step 3: Cook the Onions and Garlic
Add the reserved grease back to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Step 4: Make the Sauce
Pour the diced tomatoes into the skillet with the onions and garlic and add the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the sausage and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Cook the Pasta
While the sauce is simmering, in a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat, cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta, then return it to the pot.
Step 6: Make the Casserole
Add the sausage mixture to the pot with the noodles and half of the mozzarella cheese and stir. Then, place half the meat and pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Add the remaining pasta mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
Step 7: Bake
Cover the dish with its lid or aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Then, remove the cover and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes until the cheese becomes golden. Enjoy!
Try This Italian Sausage Penne Casserole Today
This delicious Italian sausage penne casserole is loaded with cheesy, delicious flavor, but it’s not loaded with work. It’s a great dish for a weeknight meal or any gathering because you’ll be in and out of the kitchen in no time. It’s great for the guests because it’s so delicious! Give this one a try, and I know it will become a staple in your dinner rotation.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Classic Lasagna is a hearty and delicious, easy lasagna recipe that is deliciously seasoned, loaded with cheese and is a family favorite lasagna recipe for over 40 years.
Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo is a deliciously creamy fettuccine pasta recipe with a homemade alfredo sauce and Cajun spiced jumbo shrimp.
Lasagna Stuffed Manicotti – This delicious pasta recipe has all the classic favorites we love in lasagna, and three types of cheese.
Million Dollar Pasta Bake is a perfectly seasoned ground beef recipe with elbow macaroni, mozzarella cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and more. So delicious!
Italian Sausage Penne Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 3 quart casserole dish with a non stick spray. Set aside.
- Remove sausage from casing and add to large skillet.
- Crumble and cook over medium heat until done.
- Drain grease from sausage, reserving 2 tablespoons of grease. Set sausage aside.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of grease back to pan, add chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.
- Pour diced tomatoes into skillet with the onions and garlic.
- Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add Italian sausage back to skillet and bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer on low for approximately 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.
- Drain, rinse and place pasta back in pan.
- Add sausage mixture to pan with pasta.
- Add ½ of the mozzarella cheese to the pan and stir well until melted.
- Place ½ of the meat and pasta mixture into prepared casserole dish, sprinkle with cheese, add the rest of the meat and pasta, top with remaining cheese, cover with foil bake until cheese is bubbly and heated through, approximately 30 minutes. Can remove foil and bake the cheese a bit more.
- Serve with salad and garlic bread.
Here are a few pics that are perfect to save to your favorite Pinterest boards on Pinterest. Also, you can follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Remember to “like” or “follow” us on all social media.