spicy sausage and pepper baked penne
This spicy sausage and pepper baked penne is a delicious one pot meal. You’ll love the combination of spicy Italian sausage, tons of healthy vegetables, and the fact that it’s made in one pot from start to finish!
Working full time and commuting makes it difficult to get a warm meal on the table in time for dinner every night. I’ve tried other one-pot pasta dishes but with a hectic scheduled, even the added step of cooking the pasta separately can be too much of a barrier to tackle. To skip the step [and minimize dirty dishes] I tested some options that would allow the busy cook to boil the pasta right in the sauce!
The key to a truly one pot pasta was using brown rice penne. The brown rice pasta releases a lot of thick starch and helps bring the sauce together. It also cooks up very soft and it’s less fibrous than whole wheat pasta.
After finding the perfect type of pasta I wanted to add veggies right into the pot so as not to make a separate side dish of healthy greens. I tested vegetables that I thought would taste great with the spicy sausage. The final dish boasts tons of bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and peas in a delicious casserole that your family will love to eat! To make this dish even easier I use frozen vegetables that don’t require any prep work. Most of the ingredients in this dish (the pasta, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and spices) can be kept on hand for months at a time so you can cook this up on a whim.
When using frozen vegetables, check the ingredients list and make sure there is no added sugars, oils, or sauces. You can find delicious frozen vegetables at most health food stores and at your neighborhood grocery store as long as you check the labels.
I hope you like this easy, delicious spicy sausage and pepper baked penne as much as we do! Let’s cook! xo Sep
Be sure to pin this recipe to your “weeknight dinner” board so you can easily access it!
Spicy sausage and delicious vegetables, topped with cheese and baked to perfection!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cups water
- 16 ounces frozen, sliced bell peppers (any color)
- 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach
- 2 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 lb brown rice penne
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup panko style breadcrumbs
- Heat olive oil in a shallow dutch oven or large oven proof sautee pan over medium heat. Remove sausage from casings and cook the meat in the pan, using a wooden spoon to break it down into small pieces.
- Increase the heat to high and cook the sausage, stirring frequently, until no longer pink and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup water to the pan and use the wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water evaporates.
- Grate the garlic cloves into the pan with the sausage and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the paste turns dark red.
- Add the water, frozen bell peppers, frozen spinach, salt, oregano, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the liquid is boiling, add the pasta and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed all the liquid, about 10 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, preheat the broiler.
- Once the pasta is almost fully cooked, stir in the grated parmesan, basil, and peas.
- Cover the top of the pasta with shredded mozzarella and top with a layer of panko bread crumbs.
- Place the dish under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts and is golden and bubbling.
- Let the pasta cool slightly at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in a separate, wrapped dish in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.