I keep making this and forgetting to take pictures while it’s pretty, so I keep not posting it, even though this has become a staple in my freezer. So, I decided to just post the ugly leftovers picture and tell you how good this is. It’s good. It tastes fantastic, adults and children both really enjoy it, it’s high in vegetable content and you can easily make it to suit your tastes no matter what they are; use super spicy sausage, or all chicken apple; add extra veggies (think mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, etc), or a pile of fresh basil; I’m stuck on whatever happens to be in my fridge and pantry, that way it’s new every time. Plus it makes enough for 2 good sized casserole dishes and it freezes beautifully, which is something I am always grateful for. Thank you Meagan for recommending this one when I was looking for a frozen casserole to send a friend in the hospital, she loved it, and now so do we!
4 sausages, casings removed (I used 2 Spolumbo’s chicken apple and 2 Spolumbo’s spicy italian, but use whatever suits your tastes the best)
2 onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I did these in the food processor along with the onion and carrot)
6-8 good sized carrots, finely chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 156mL can tomato paste
2 cups Passata (strained tomatoes)
1/4 cup pesto (homemade if you have it, but the jarred stuff works just fine)
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1, 1 lb box of penne (I used Smart pasta, but whole wheat would work fine)
1 bag or bunch of fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped (food processor again. Also, I have used mustard greens and swiss chard as well, all with good results, and Meagan said a box of frozen chopped spinach gets the job done too)
1 1/2 cups grated mozza (I love my food processor on this one)
1/2 cup (or so) grated parmesan
2. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and passata, simmering 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, then stir in pesto.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large (again large, I used my stock pot) pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until just al dente (a little on the hard side is more than ok, it will cook a bit more while baking).
4. Drain the pasta, then put it back in the pot with the spinach and mozza, tossing until well mixed, then add in the tomato sauce and give it all a good stir. Divide between two good sized casseroles (I used a 9×13 glass pan and a 3 quart casserole). Top with parmesan.
5. This is where I froze mine or baked it. If baking straight away, bake at 350 for 1/2 an hour or until bubbly. If freezing, I try to thaw a bit before baking (take it out of the freezer in the morning) and then bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, plus I pour a small can (like the old school little tomato juices) of V-8 over the top first.