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Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese

January 3, 2011

Well it’s 2011 and I must admit I am a little sad to see 2010 go.  It was a wonderful year full of exciting changes: new business, new baby, new town and lots of happy memories.  I hope 2011 puts on its game face because it will seriously need to come to play to beat last year.

In an effort to get the new year started on the right foot, I am going to share my favorite healthy, low-maintenance recipes all month-long.  They should make shedding those few extra holiday pounds a little more manageable and make sticking to your new year’s resolution deliciously easy!  The recipes will be a mixture of main dish, side dish and dessert recipes so there will be a little something for everyone.

The first recipe I want to share is one of my all time favorites: Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese.  It’s the kind of dish that makes my mouth water just to think about.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting 25 minutes to bake it in the oven before I can dig in!  Each serving contains 413 calories, which is quite manageable for a pasta dish.  Plus, it is incredibly filling so served with the appropriate side salad you can get in a full meal for less than 600 calories.  Not too shabby when you consider some of the baked pasta alternatives!

Plus, the recipe is quite simple to put together.  You start my browning the turkey sausage with onions and garlic and then bring the mixture to a simmer with a little tomato paste and diced tomatoes.

Then you stir in cooked pasta and fresh chopped basil.

Layer it in a casserole dish with parmesan and mozzarella and bake for 25 minutes.

The end result is pure pasta perfection!

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
Yields: 8 Servings

1 pound Uncooked ziti
1 pound Hot turkey Italian sausage
1 cup Onion (chopped)
2 Garlic clove (minced)
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
2 14.5-ounce cans Petite-diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/4 cup Fresh basil (chopped)
Cooking spray
1 cup Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta, set aside.
3. Remove casings from sausage if necessary. Cook sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato paste, salt, black pepper, and diced tomatoes. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Combine cooked pasta, sausage, mixture and basil.
5. Place half of mixture in a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of mozzarella and half of parmesan.
6. Repeat layers and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

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