I think we all have a favorite copy of this recipe, but just in case, I’m sharing this one. It’s a nice fallback when you don’t know what to make for dinner, it’s easy to make, satisfying and tastes great. So here’s the unadulterated recipe. (As usual, my changes are below.)
Italian Pasta Casserole
2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
½ pound lean ground beef
½ pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cans (14½ ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato paste
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble beef and sausage into a large skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Drain pasta; stir in meat mixture and pepperoni. Transfer half of pasta mixture to a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of cheese; repeat layers.
Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
Instead of the turkey sausage links I used regular old Jimmy Dean’s. Didn’t have to bother with the casings, and I had already used my turkey sausage for Jambalaya. There’s a low-fat version too, if you’re trying to eat healthier. Since I was doubling the recipe, it made it simple with 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound sausage. I left out the pepperoni too. Seemed like overkill to me (my husband agreed) but if you want to try it that way, go for it. Let me know how it tastes.
This was pretty yummy, but I think I’m getting a little tired of Italian. My husband could eat it every night, but I’m ready for a change. Maybe I’ll share my easy peasy jambalaya recipe with you...