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Baked Pasta with Sausage, Mushroom, and Spinach

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSPs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes less if you don't like much heat
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds Italian seasoned sausage I used Jenni-o Sweet Italian Sausage, casing removed
  • 8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 TBSP Kosher salt
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes in their juice
  • 1/2 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1/2 TBSP dried basil
  • 16 oz rigatoni noodles
  • 3 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large oven proof skillet (see recipe notes) over medium high heat, cook the extra virgin olive oil for a moment before adding the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir for about thirty seconds to a minute and then add your turkey sausage. Break up the sausage and stir, allowing it to brown.
  • When the sausage is no longer pink, add the sliced mushrooms, breaking them up into smaller pieces with your spoon.
  • At this point you are going to want to put on a large pot of water for your pasta over high heat. Add a tablespoon of salt.
  • Once the mushrooms are cooked and soft, add the tomatoes and their liquid. Stir to combine. Then add the basil and oregano, and continue to stir. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  • Once your pasta water is at a roaring boil, add the noodles. Set your kitchen timer for about two minutes less than the time stated on the box. For example, my noodles said to cook them for 10 minutes, and I took them out at 8. You want the pasta to have a lot of bite left. At the end of the cooking time, drain the noodles and rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Uncover your sauce and stir in the spinach, allowing it to wilt. Continue to cook the sauce, uncovered for about five minutes.
  • Stir in the noodles, making sure that the the sauce is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
  • Very gently stir in one cup of cheese, and then the other. You don't want to stir in large clumps, or it will melt too quickly together and not be evenly distributed. Add the remaining two cups of mozzarella and the parmesan in an even layer over the top.
  • Cook uncovered in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese on top is fully melted and starting to brown.