Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese

Unique name, huh? I love this recipe from Cooking Light and we’re serving it to our guests coming over tonight along with some fresh artisian bread and a green salad. It is so easy, and a great meal to serve to company since most people like pasta. I follow the recipe pretty well, except I usually use dried basil and probably more cheese than it calls for. I definitely think it is important to use fresh mozarella.

1 (1-pound) package uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta)
1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage links
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, 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 chopped fresh basil
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the pasta, and set aside.

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture, and basil. Place half of the pasta mixture in a 4-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Repeat layers. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)CALORIES 413 (26% from fat); FAT 11.8g (sat 6.1g,mono 2.2g,poly 1g); IRON 7.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 265mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53g; SODIUM 941mg; PROTEIN 24.1g; FIBER 4.5g

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