Level up your baked pasta with sweet Italian sausage, a trio of creamy cheeses, and a couple of handfuls of torn fresh basil. This recipe makes a big gooey pan, but you will not regret leftovers.
What You Get
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
What You’ll Need
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add two-thirds of the pasta and cook until nearly al dente, 9 minutes or a couple of minutes less than the recommended cook time. Drain the pasta, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and toss to separate.
Meanwhile, slice the sausages. Slice the red onion (you should have about 2 cups). Pick the basil, toss the stems, and tear the leaves, depending on size. Drain the mozzarella and tear into bite-size pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the sausage and sauté until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Return the pan to the heat, add the red onion, and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 2½ cups of the crushed tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly darkened, 5 minutes longer.
Return the sausage to the pan, along with the cooked pasta and 1½ cups of the ricotta, and stir to combine. Pour the pasta mixture into a rectangular baking pan (about 9 by 13 inches). Drizzle with the remaining crushed tomatoes, scatter with the torn mozzarella and most of the basil, and sprinkle with some of the Parmesan. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until a little crispy around the edges, 15 minutes.
Let the baked penne rest for a few minutes before scooping into bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining basil and Parmesan, grind with pepper, and serve warm.