I’ve partnered with SocialStars and Johnsonville® to pep up pasta night with this delicious Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake!
Let’s play a little game. Close your eyes and think about your favorite restaurant in your area. It could be a fancy restaurant where you celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Or it could be a little hole-in-wall pizza joint where you get take-out pies on cold, winter evenings. Ok, so what is your favorite restaurant?
I’ve got a couple of favorite haunts in our area. (I say haunts because Halloween is right around the corner…and I like to pretend I’m a ghost.) But one of my favorite places is one which our neighbors introduced us to not too long after we moved into the neighborhood. It’s a small, family-style Italian restaurant about 20 minutes away. And it’s delicious!
When I say small, family-style Italian restaurant, I mean small. As many wooden tables and chairs as possible are crammed into the space, and the walls are decorated with all sorts of New York sports memorabilia. And I’m talking like old school newspapers and magazines. Heck, I could probably spend an hour in there just walking around looking at the walls.
But back to the food. This place has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Hands down. No questions asked. But here’s the thing: it’s served family-style. An entree can easily feed 3 people…with leftovers. It’s a bit difficult for my wife and I to go there by ourselves since we end up with way too much food. Granted, it’s way too much delicious food. But still. So we end up only going up whenever our family is town…we need to bring extra mouths to help us finish those massive bowls of pasta!
You can imagine my shock one cold Saturday morning about 2 years ago when I turned on the news to find that this restaurant had burned down. I’m not talking just a small kitchen fire. I’m talking there was only a hole in the ground where the building used to stand. I almost cried. Fortunately for us, they quickly rebuilt in a nearby location. But the bowls of pasta might be even bigger than before.
The other night, I set out to create a tasty weeknight pasta dish. I drew inspiration from our favorite Italian restaurant, and the result was this Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake. This is an easy recipe that’s ready in about 30-35 minutes. Oh, and the leftovers are just as good as the original. That’s how we roll on weeknights around here!
As I was making this skillet bake, I couldn’t help but think about how this recipe features so many layers of flavor. You start with a classic base of onions, peppers and garlic…and Italian sausage. Italian sausage makes everything better, right? My wife is part-Italian, and she tells me it’s true. (And since my wife is currently 8+ months pregnant, everything she says right now is true. Everything.)
Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake
We used Johnsonville’s® Sweet Italian Sausage for this skillet bake, and it added loads of flavor to the dish. We’re big fans of Johnsonville® around here, and we’ve always got a stash of Italian sausage in our freezer. (I did mention that my wife is part-Italian, right?) Here’s the thing about this recipe: feel free to adapt it to your own preferences. Italian sausage is a tasty add-in to any of your favorite recipes. Just swap out the protein for Italian sausage, and you’ve got a new twist on an old favorite!
Once the onions, pepper, garlic and sausage cook for a bit, then you just add in some canned tomatoes and a bunch of spices. Simmer, simmer, simmer and then add in a bit of cream and some mozzarella cheese. Toss that bad boy in the oven until the top gets nice and bubbly, and you’ve got one heck of a weeknight meal. Forget going out to eat! This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake is delicious, and I’ve almost always got the ingredients on hand. And I even have some classic sports memorabilia on the walls (in my office). Delicious sausage, tasty weeknight pasta bakes and sports memorabilia are a win-win-win in my book!
Looking for more tasty Italian sausage recipes? Check these out!