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Baked Mostaccioli

Baked Mostaccioli: A Hearty Italian Classic Straight from Your Oven

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Indulge in the comforting flavors of Baked Mostaccioli, a beloved Italian-American dish that combines pasta, savory Italian sausage, vibrant vegetables, and gooey melted cheese. This hearty and satisfying casserole is perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying as a cozy family dinner. With simple ingredients and easy preparation, you can bring the flavors of Italy right to your dinner table. Join us as we explore how to create this delicious dish from scratch, along with tips, variations, and answers to your frequently asked questions!

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. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the mostaccioli pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Sausage and Vegetables:
    • In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage over medium heat until browned and cooked through, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once cooked, transfer the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease.
    • In the same skillet, add the chopped green pepper, onion, and minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Combine Pasta, Sauce, and Ingredients:
    • In the prepared baking dish, combine the cooked mostaccioli pasta, cooked Italian sausage, sautéed vegetables, and marinara sauce. Mix until everything is well combined.
  5. Add Cheese:
    • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the pasta mixture. Then, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Bake to Perfection:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Customize the Meat:
    • Substitute Italian sausage with ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken for a different flavor profile.
  • Add More Veggies:
    • Incorporate additional vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach for added texture and nutrition.
  • Spice it Up:
    • Add crushed red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning to the pasta mixture for a kick of heat and extra flavor.
  • Make it Vegetarian:
    • Omit the Italian sausage and add extra vegetables or meatless sausage crumbles for a vegetarian version of this dish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different type of pasta? A: Yes, you can use other types of pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or ziti if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the pasta shape.

Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can assemble the baked mostaccioli ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake it. Simply cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover baked mostaccioli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Q: Can I freeze this dish? A: Yes, you can freeze baked mostaccioli for future meals. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and bake in the oven until heated through.

Baked Mostaccioli is a timeless Italian-American classic that never fails to satisfy with its comforting flavors and cheesy goodness. Whether you’re serving it for a family dinner, potluck, or weeknight meal, this hearty casserole is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. With its simple preparation and customizable ingredients, it’s a versatile dish that you’ll want to make again and again. Buon appetito!

More Tips and Tricks:

  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs:
    • Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or basil on top of the baked mostaccioli before serving for a pop of color and fresh flavor.
  • Serve with Garlic Bread:
    • Pair baked mostaccioli with warm garlic bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal.
  • Experiment with Cheese:
    • Mix different types of cheese such as cheddar, provolone, or fontina for a unique twist on this classic dish.
  • Share the Recipe:
    • Share this delicious recipe with friends and family and spread the joy of homemade Baked Mostaccioli. It’s sure to become a new favorite in your recipe collection!

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