Recipe - Spinach and Sausage Pasta Bake

[Original recipe post in December 2010] I'm working on revamping old recipes from when the blog first started. This pasta bake was a staple of my college days because I could work on it in one night's time and manage to eat it throughout the week. It's baked in a 9x13 dish, stacked quite high so that there is plenty to go around. I have my own version below but you can adjust with some ingredients here and there as you please. I have loved teaching this recipe to other people as well because you end up with something wonderful without need of much culinary expertise. If you are a fan of Italian ingredients and flavors, you'll love this hefty meal.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 12-16 servings)
  • 1 lb ground hot Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes, optional
  • 8 oz rotini pasta, cooked
  • 1 lb baby spinach leaves
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsps garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, finely diced and deseeded
  • 6 oz medium-sized pitted black olives, sliced
  • 8 oz shredded Mozzarella (or Italian cheese blend)
Step 2: Prepping ingredients
Bring water to a boil for pasta and cook as directed. While waiting for water to boil, add sausage to a hot skillet and break up into chunks. When half of it has browned, add in garlic and red chili flakes; cook through. Drain pasta when ready and boil water again in the pot for spinach.

Step 3: Setting up layers
Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice olives and dice tomatoes. Boil and drain spinach, making sure to squeeze out excess liquids. Chop finely and mix with ricotta, eggs, and all herbs.


Step 4: Finishing
You may choose how to exactly layer the bake but my method involves sauce on the bottom followed by tomatoes and olives, sausage, spinach-ricotta spread, pasta, and repeat. The very last layer is the shredded Mozzarella. Bake for 35 minutes and then enjoy!

Photography by Duc Duong.