Casseroles/ Pasta

Cheesy Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

A cheesy hot Italian sausage pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

A cheesy hot Italian pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

This pasta bake takes its flavor cues from the lasagna soup I posted last year. I ended up loving the spiced flavors of hot Italian sausage so much, I decided to make a pasta bake out of it. And what’s a pasta bake without some cheese? So there’s just enough cheese to have some cheese string action going but feel free to add more 😉

It’s pretty easy with a few simple ingredients. There’s not as much cheese as my chicken Alfredo pasta bake, but it’s still a good one to try out, especially if you love the flavors of hot Italian sausage. So let’s start cooking!

A cheesy hot Italian pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

CHEESY HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE RECIPE TIPS

Pasta – You can use any kind of pasta you like. So pick a favorite! I went with rotini but you can use shells, elbows, tube-type pasta, or farfalle. Try to cook the pasta until just before al dente. This means that if instructions call for 10 minutes, do it about 8-9 minutes. You want it soft but still a little chewy. The pasta will continue cooking in the oven so we don’t want to overcook it and have a soggy mess. It’s the same reason we rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Italian sausage – I used hot Italian sausage but if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can use mild/sweet Italian instead. You won’t need any oil to brown it as it will eventually render and cook in its own fat. Make sure to break up any clumps so it distributes evenly in the pasta bake. The quickest way to do this is to use a meat masher once the sausage has fully browned.

A cheesy hot Italian pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

Garlic – I used fresh garlic but you can substitute it with some garlic powder. If using fresh garlic, I find the fastest way to mince it is with a garlic press or mini grater.

Diced tomatoes – For this recipe, I used fire-roasted diced tomatoes but you can also use regular diced tomatoes or a herbed blend of basil, garlic and oregano.

Sugar – I typically like to add a little bit of sugar to balance out the tartness of tomatoes but you can skip this if you like.

Cheese – I used both mozzarella and Parmesan cheese but you could also try an Italian cheese blend. If you prefer sharper flavors and don’t care about melty cheese, you could also try cheddar cheese instead.

A cheesy hot Italian pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

Broiling – Broil it a little after baking the casserole to get a slightly browned cheesy top layer. Any pasta or sausage on the top will also get a little crunchy!

Crank up the flavor – Add more flavor with smoked paprika or red pepper flakes.

Add veggies – Feel free to add in any veggies like zucchini, broccoli, or spinach. Just mix it in with the pasta and bake.

Add fresh herbs – You can also add some freshly chopped basil or parsley.

And that’s about it. Have it as is or try serving with some garlic bread or garlic knots. Enjoy and happy eating!

MORE ITALIAN SAUSAGE RECIPES TO TRY

♡ If you liked this recipe, giving it a star rating ★★★★★ in the comments below really helps! For more recipes, subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook, Instagram and  Pinterest.

  Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A cheesy hot Italian pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.

Cheesy Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Bake


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

A cheesy hot Italian sausage pasta bake with a spiced savory and sweet marinara sauce, hot Italian flavors and plenty of cheese.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16 oz. pasta
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 15 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta till just before al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Over medium-high heat, saute garlic until fragrant.
  3. Add sausage and stir to break up any lumps. Cook until sausage is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
  4. Add in marinara sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Combine the pasta with the meat sauce, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well.
  6. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish.
  7. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  9. Broil at 450°F for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
  10. Dish and serve hot.
  11. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins

♡ Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. You can learn more about it here.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Brooke
    May 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    This is one of my all time favorite meals!! Do you think if I tried to freeze it to have ready to pop in the oven at a later date that that would work?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 23, 2018 at 6:51 PM

      I wish I could give you a definite answer but I haven’t ever tried freezing casseroles and reheating them. But hey, if you ever do try, please come back and let me know so folks here have a tried and true answer?

  • Reply
    Lori
    September 15, 2017 at 1:05 PM

    Can I use Jimmy Dean Hot sausage? The one that comes in the big roll? Or is that different?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 20, 2017 at 5:33 PM

      I haven’t tried Jimmy Dean’s yet. Pretty sure it’s a breakfast sausage. It’s slightly different from hot Italian sausage primarily in the spices. I’ve read breakfast sausages are more sage-based while Italian are fennel-based. But if you’re in a pinch, you could try substituting it for Jimmy Dean’s if you don’t mind the difference in flavor. Try adding more Italian seasoning to compensate.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    April 27, 2016 at 5:23 PM

    Hi

    How much vegetables can I add to this recipe.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 29, 2016 at 12:17 PM

      Heya! Try half a pound so it can still fit in the casserole dish. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Jyl
    October 24, 2015 at 6:43 PM

    Farah, this is sooooo yummy! I have been following your recipes and this was the first that I have actually attempted to make (although I have pinned quite a few). This was so freaking good! I love your simple recipes and your GORGEOUS pictures that make your dishes look so scrumptious! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes … they make me very happy 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      October 29, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      Well I’m so glad your first try was a good one! Oh and comments like this make me very happy 🙂 Have a great weekend, Jyl!

  • Reply
    Dorothy Dunton
    July 27, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Hi Farrah! This is a bowl of happiness! I make my own Italian sausage out of ground pork – that way I control the seasonings and I know exactly what’s in it! I usually make it on the mild side, but it can easily be spiced up more depending on what spices you add. I have an abundance of fresh basil and summer squash in the garden – I’m always looking for ways to create something tasty with the squash and now I have a new one! Thanks!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      July 29, 2015 at 2:46 PM

      Absolutely, Dorothy. Squash will be nice with this. Enjoy the recipe!

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe rating

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    2K Shares
    Pin2K
    Share28
    Yum333
    Email