Tuesday, June 29, 2010

50. Sausage 'n' Spinach Pasta Bake

From 2007 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Even though my niece's swim meet was rained out, I was so happy to be in my kitchen tonight, cooking in the stormy weather with a casserole bubbling in the oven and smelling great. It may be ridiculously hot in Alabama right now, but it felt like a cozy, casserole, comfort-food night in my house.

This was insanely good. The key element was the cream cheese; it gave the dish a creamy, delectable quality and tied all of the other ingredients together. You could also easily substitute chicken for personal preference.

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups cooked, crumbled hot Italian sausage
1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (8-oz.) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.

Meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of an 11- x 7-inch baking dish; add onion in a single layer.

Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl, and set aside.

Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.

Stir rigatoni, spinach, sausage, and next 3 ingredients into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered, at 375° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

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