Baked Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Baked Pasta with Vodka Sauce


I love summer.  I like having all of the kiddos home.  I miss them during the school year.  I toy with the idea of home-schooling the lot of them (I have done it for a couple of the kids for a short time.)  I like spending time with my kids, almost every day.  Today was not one of those days.

Don't get me wrong.  My kiddos are polite and kind (although not always to each other.)  They are hard workers.  They don't expect me or PoppaH to give them things without working for them.  They are smart and funny.  Today, however, I just wasn't in the mood to be the mom.  Too much drama.  Too much.

I needed an easy, comforting meal and so did they.  So, baked pasta, salad and bread (yes, I made bread again) seemed like the thing to do. Here's my recipe http://ahawker.blogspot.com/2012/06/french-bread.html  I don't actually measure when I make the pasta, so the measurements won't be exact - just do what sounds good to you.  For the salad, I used spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber (from the garden!), marinated mozzerela, and artichoke hearts.

*note on 07/2014*
I have started sautéing spinach or kale in the meat after the meat is browned.  My kiddos love it.  I am adding it as optional to the recipe and adding a couple of pictures.
I have also gotten away from bottled sauce.  I make my own and add cream to the sauce, about 1 cup cream to 2 cups sauce. (I don't actually add vodka, but you can if you want.)  Bottled is fine, though, do what you want, just keep cooking!

Baked Pasta with Vodka Sauce

1 pound of pasta - I used penne - cooked
1 jar (25 oz.) bottled vodka sauce
1 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
1 bunch fresh spinach or kale, chopped (optional)
1 1/4 cups (loose pack) mozzarella cheese, grated
1 1/4 cups (loose pack) cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Brown Italian sausage in a frying pan, drain.  Add the spinach or kale, if using, to the meat and cook just until the greens have wilted (it won't take long.)

In a large bowl, add the sausage and greens, if using, to the cooked pasta.  Add the jar of vodka sauce and stir. (you want the pasta to have a lot of sauce because much of it will be absorbed while baking)  
To the pasta mixture, add a handful of mozzarella and a handful of cheddar cheese. I think this is about a cup.  I have big hands.  Put the whole mixture in in the prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top.  
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the cheeses are bubble and the pasta is hot through.

Ignore the drama around you and enjoy your meal.


  1. I am making this tonight! Just went to the store to get the ingredients. (Not making the homemade bread, though. For some reason dry yeast does not want to be my friend. It looks sooo yummy, though.) Thank you for your delicious recipes!!! Love your blog!!!

  2. Made this one tonight! Easy and sooooo good!

  3. This one also works well if you sauté bell peppers and onions