I have always loved this recipe! I love lasagna but sometimes when I make it, somehow it just doesn’t come out right after all that work of dividing ingredients between layers and making sure to not tear the long noodles!
However, Penne Casserole always comes out right—every time! It’s fast and easy. Don’t let the “casserole” part put you off. It’s the easy-to-make, comfort cousin of lasagna!
I literally have dreams about this casserole I love it that much…okay that’s an exaggeration. But I do crave it often. And I do love the song “Dream” sung by Dean Martin, so enjoy!
This is an easy option when you want lasagna but don't have the time to assemble it. It keeps well in an air-tight container and tastes great reheated.
- 2/3 cup cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, grated
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 pound penne pasta or mezze penne
- 1 1/2 pounds spicy sausage, cooked and drained
- 2 jars tomato and basil pasta sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook penne for 9 minutes (mezze penne for 7 minutes). Undercooking keeps the pasta from becoming mushy in the pasta sauce as it bakes in the oven.
- Meanwhile, combine the three cheeses in a large bowl.
- Drain pasta and immediately add to cheese mixture in bowl and mix until the cheese is melted over the pasta.
- In a 9 x 18 (or a 9 x 13) pan spread enough pasta sauce to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Put half of the pasta/cheese mixture in the pan. Empty the partially used jar of sauce over the pasta. Add half of the sausage. Add the rest of the pasta, sauce, and sausage in that order.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
When reheating in the microwave add a 1/2 tablespoon of cottage cheese to each portion before heating it. It helps add a little moisture back into the pasta. Also, never heat up pasta or pasta sauce on full power. Take the extra time to heat it slowly. Otherwise you'll have hard, dry pasta to eat!