This Italian Sausage Pasta Bake is an easy dinner recipe that works well as a freezer meal, or as a cozy casserole to share with friends and family! Layers of fresh mozzarella, ground sausage, vegetables and pasta in tomato sauce create a delicious combination that bakes in one dish!
Make this for your kids for dinner tonight, bring this to your friend who just had a baby, or share it with your congregation at the church potluck. I promise, they will all be eternally grateful!
How do you make Italian Sausage Pasta?
The simple ingredients come together in a magical way, making this Italian sausage casserole one of my go-to recipes for entertaining and sharing with loved ones! It also happens to be one of Keith's favorite dinners...
What is the best sausage for pasta?
I use turkey Italian sausage for a leaner option, but any variety will work. You can also try sweet Italian sausage or spicy Italian sausage!
How do you cook sausages for pasta?
To cook the sausage in a skillet, you will need to remove the meat from the casings. It's a simple step that only takes a few seconds, but if you prefer, you can often find bulk ground Italian sausage in the meat department.
Sauté the Italian sausage with the diced bell pepper and sliced mushrooms in a skillet, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain off the fat.
Meanwhile, boil your rigatoni pasta in a separate pot. Drain the water off of the pasta.
Combine the cooked pasta with the sausage mixture, and add the marinara sauce, half-and-half, and grated Parmesan.
Transfer half of the pasta mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with half of the sliced fresh mozzarella.
Finish with the remaining pasta and a final layer of mozzarella on top. With this simple assembly, your Italian Sausage Pasta Bake is ready for the oven!
The casserole bakes at 375 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley, if desired, for an added bright burst of flavor and color!
With its layers of gooey melted cheese and chunks of flavorful Italian sausage, this hearty and creamy pasta bake is a crowd-pleasing option that everyone at your table will love!
COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS -- ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE:
- Prepare a Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta by using a hot Italian sausage in place of the sweet turkey Italian sausage shown here.
- For a Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta recipe, substitute 32 ounces of Alfredo sauce for the marinara sauce shown here. You seriously can't go wrong when you serve Pasta with Italian Sausage and Cream Sauce!
- My Italian Sausage Pasta with tomato sauce calls for a jar of store-bought marinara sauce, but you can certainly substitute with homemade tomato sauce, if you prefer. Here's a great recipe for a 20-Minute Garlic and Herb Tomato Sauce that would work well in this dish.
- Make it a Freezer Meal: assemble this Italian Sausage Pasta recipe in advance, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze before baking. It will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Cooking for a Smaller Family? This recipe makes one large dish of pasta to serve about 8, or you can divide the ingredients equally between two smaller 8-inch square baking dishes. Eat one now and freeze the other for later.
Looking for even more Italian sausage recipes? Try these:
- Dump-and-Bake Italian Sausage with Rice
- Foil Pack Italian Sausage and Peppers
- 5-Ingredient Grilled Italian Sausage Kabobs
- Sheet Pan Italian Sausage with Potatoes
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
- 1 lb. dry rigatoni pasta
- 3.5 cups (32 ounce jar) marinara sauce
- 2 Tablespoons half-and-half
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 - 1.25 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed I used Italian turkey sausage, but any variety will work
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- Cook pasta just until al dente (where it still has some bite). The pasta will continue to bake in the oven later, so you don't want it to be too soft.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet sauté sausage, bell pepper, and mushrooms until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Drain.
- Combine sausage mixture with cooked pasta, marinara sauce, half-and-half, and Parmesan.
- Pour half of the pasta mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Layer half of the mozzarella slices on top.
- Add another layer of pasta and a final layer of mozzarella.
- Bake at 375 degrees F, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes (or until warmed through and cheese is melted).
This recipe was originally published in April, 2013. It was updated in December, 2018.