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The smoked Gouda can sometimes be hard to find, but it adds a great flavor and texture. The hot Italian sausage adds some spice. Got this one from "The Best American Recipes 2003-2004."
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (26 ounce) boxespomi brand marinara sauce (or other high-quality prepared marinara sauce)
- 6 tablespoons pesto sauce (store-bought is fine)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb penne
- 8 ounces smoked gouda cheese or 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, finely diced
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the sausage and onion.
- Cook, breaking sausage up with a spoon, for about 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently to cook onion evenly.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add marinara sauce and reduce heat to medium.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
- Stir in pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until al dente.
- Drain well.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Oil a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of dish.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta with remaining sauce, the Gouda or mozzarella, 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and spinach, mixing well.
- Spoon mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan over top.
- Bake for about 30 minute or until casserole begins to bubble and cheese is browned.
- Serve hot.