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BAKED MOSTACCIOLI

Introduction:
Indulge in a comforting Italian classic with our mouthwatering Baked Mostaccioli Casserole. This simple yet satisfying dish features tender mostaccioli pasta smothered in a hearty meat sauce, topped with a decadent blend of Italian cheeses, and baked to golden perfection. Perfect for busy weeknights or leisurely family dinners, this casserole promises to delight the taste buds of both young and old alike.

What is Mostaccioli?
Mostaccioli is a type of pasta characterized by its tubular shape and ridged surface, similar to penne but larger. Its name is derived from the Italian word “mosto,” meaning “grape must,” which traditionally was used as a sweetening agent in baking. In this recipe, mostaccioli serves as the perfect canvas for capturing the rich flavors of the savory meat sauce and creamy cheeses.

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:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the mostaccioli noodles al dente according to package instructions and drain well.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage. Once browned, remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside, keeping it warm.
  3. In the same skillet, add the chopped green pepper and onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the edges of the onions start to brown. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. In a large baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, combine the cooked sausage mixture, cooked mostaccioli, and marinara sauce. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown.
  8. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
See also  CREAM CHEESE LEMONADE PIE

Notes:

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave at reduced power.
  • To freeze, cool the casserole completely and cover 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 and reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.