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Spicy Italian Baked Mac and Cheese

This is a super easy 30-minute meal that involves just 10 simple, delicious ingredients! All you need is hot Italian ground sausage, pasta, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, half and half, basil, garlic, onion, spinach, and your favorite jar of pasta sauce. After a few minutes of cooking on the stove, you’ll transfer everything to a casserole dish to bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. And what you get is bubbly, cheesy, flavorful perfection with a little kick. Enjoy!


Spicy Italian Baked Mac and Cheese

Serving Size: 6-8
Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb hot Italian ground sausage
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spinach (several handfuls because it wilts down)
  • 1/2 lb penne pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I like to use Simple Truth Organic 4 Cheese Pasta Sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil (or 4 teaspoons fresh basil)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and begin heating a pot of water for pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage until almost no pink remains. Turn heat down to medium, and if there isn’t much oil in the pan from the sausage, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before adding onion and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes or until onion and garlic are soft and fragrant, stirring frequently. During the last minute of cooking, stir in the spinach until slightly wilted.
  3. Stir in pasta, sauce, and basil. Then, stir in half + half and simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in half of the mozzarella.
  4. Transfer mixture to a large baking dish and sprinkle with other half of mozzarella and all of the parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning broil on during the last 5 minutes, until cheese is lightly golden.

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love always, nik

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