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BAKED MOSTACCIOLI

Baked Mostaccioli: An Italian Classic Your Family Will Love

Introduction

Baked mostaccioli is a comforting Italian classic that is sure to be a hit with the whole family. This casserole dish features tender mostaccioli pasta enveloped in a rich meat sauce and topped with a blanket of melted Italian cheeses. The result is a hearty, flavorful meal that’s perfect for weeknight dinners or special occasions. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make this delicious dish step-by-step, with tips to ensure it turns out perfectly every time.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces mostaccioli pasta
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large green pepper, seeded, veined, and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 cups marinara sauce or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Preparing the Pasta

  1. Boil the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mostaccioli noodles and cook them al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta well and set aside.

Cooking the Meat and Vegetables

  1. Brown the Sausage: In a skillet over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage. Once cooked, remove the sausage from the skillet and place it on a plate. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables: Using the same skillet, add the chopped green pepper and onion. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the edges of the onions begin to brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat.

Assembling the Casserole

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, combine the cooked sausage, sautéed vegetables, cooked mostaccioli, and marinara sauce. Mix well to ensure everything is evenly distributed. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  2. Add the Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the casserole.

Baking

  1. Bake the Casserole: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and has started to brown slightly.
  2. Garnish: If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
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Tips for the Perfect Baked Mostaccioli

  • Al Dente Pasta: Cooking the pasta al dente ensures it won’t become too soft during baking.
  • Quality Cheese: Use high-quality mozzarella and Parmesan for the best flavor and melting properties.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Fresh garlic, onions, and peppers add a depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Marinara Sauce: Opt for a good-quality marinara or tomato sauce, or make your own for an extra special touch.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave at reduced power to avoid overcooking.

FAQs

How Long Do You Bake Mostaccioli?

You should bake mostaccioli for 25-30 minutes at 350°F (175°C). The cheese should be melted and slightly browned.

Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta?

Yes, you can substitute mostaccioli with other similar pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni if needed.

How Do I Make This Dish Vegetarian?

To make a vegetarian version, simply omit the Italian sausage and add more vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach.

Can I Prepare Baked Mostaccioli Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to bake, simply add a few extra minutes to the baking time to ensure it heats through completely.

How Do I Freeze Baked Mostaccioli?

To freeze, let the casserole cool completely. Cover it with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze on a level surface for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

What Should I Serve with Baked Mostaccioli?

Baked mostaccioli pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables.

By following this recipe and tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and comforting baked mostaccioli that your family will request again and again. Enjoy this classic Italian dish, perfect for any occasion!