Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Baked Pasta with Spinach & Sausage for Nelly's Big Day

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baked Pasta with Spinach & Sausage for Nelly's Big Day

“And …I said YESSSSS!”
It happened one November midnight, in Twitterverse, we saw the above tweet from our dear Nelly @nella22. Without missing a beat, we all knew Nelly had “said YES” to her beloved “M”, as she sweetly calls Brian Murray, her fianc√©.

If you don't know Nelly from Cooking with Books, you should.  She's a wonderful person and writes an exceptional blog.  Well today is her Virtual Bridal Shower. While I've been to many real bridal showers, this is my first virtual one. How does this work?  Basically a bunch of Nelly's blogger friends will be posting recipes today to help her celebrate this special occasion.  Be sure to check out everyone's post to see what they're bringing and don't forget to stop by and wish Nelly well.

Baked Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup vodka
28 oz canned crushed  tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb penne pasta
10 oz baby spinach
12 oz sausage
8 oz mozzarella cheese (4 oz cut into 1/2 in. cubes and 2 ounces grated)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese                                      

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

2.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stir in garlic.  Remove sausage from casing and crumble. Add sausage to oil and cook until brown.  Remove pan from heat and add vodka, return to heat cook until almost evaporated about 1 minute.
3.  Stir in tomatoes and oregano, cook about 10-15 minutes.  Add cream and cook until warmed through about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

4.  In the meantime cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  Add spinach and cook just until wilted.  Drain and return contents to pot.

5.  Add tomato sauce,  sausage and cubed mozzarella cheese to pot.  Toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into a baking dish.

6.  Top with  grated mozzarella cheese and parmesan.  Bake until browned and edges are crisp 20-30 minutes.


  1. Now That's a way to a man's heart! Yum!

  2. I am SO hungry right now! This looks amazing.

  3. Yummmmmm! I love baked pasta and yours looks delicious..

  4. Oh yum, this is our type of meal! Thank you for the kind words friend and so happy to have you in my twitterverse!

  5. What a wonderful savory contribution! And it's a good thing, too. I was going into a sugar coma reading all the shower posts (I'm partly to blame for that, too, I will admit)! Vodka sauce is my favorite--love it!

  6. That looks delicious! Baked pasta always is a great meal.

  7. What a great baked pasta dish! I know my family would love it!