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Cream Cheese And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cream Cheese and Sausage Pasta Bake: A Symphony of Flavor

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Get ready to elevate your pasta game with our Cream Cheese and Sausage Pasta Bake – a rich and flavorful dish that combines the creaminess of cream cheese, the savory goodness of Italian sausage, and the comforting embrace of perfectly cooked pasta. This indulgent pasta bake is a one-way ticket to pasta paradise, and the best part is, it’s surprisingly easy to make. Join us on a culinary adventure as we guide you through crafting this irresistible pasta masterpiece.

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz tubular pasta, like penne, ziti, or rigatoni
  • 1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 (24 oz) jar tomato-basil pasta sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Step 1: Cook the Pasta

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cook the tubular pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Brown the Sausage

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add ground Italian sausage and cook until browned, breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks.

Step 3: Add Aromatics

  1. Stir in minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

Step 4: Create the Creamy Base

  1. Add heavy cream and cream cheese to the skillet, stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the mixture is creamy.

Step 5: Combine with Sauce

  1. Pour in the tomato-basil pasta sauce and diced tomatoes with their juices. Mix until well combined.
  2. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired. Adjust to taste.

Step 6: Assemble the Bake

  1. In a large baking dish, combine the cooked pasta and the sausage mixture. Mix until the pasta is evenly coated.
  2. Top the mixture with shredded mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.

Step 7: Bake to Melty Perfection

  1. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are golden brown.

Step 8: Serve and Enjoy

  1. Allow the pasta bake to cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Vegetarian Twist: Substitute the Italian sausage with plant-based alternatives for a vegetarian version.
  • Cheese Lover’s Delight: Add extra cheese varieties like Parmesan or provolone for an even more decadent experience.
  • Pasta Swap: Experiment with different pasta shapes or use whole wheat pasta for a healthier twist.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Version

  • Replace the tubular pasta with zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative.
  • Use a keto-friendly tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  • Opt for almond milk or coconut cream instead of heavy cream.

Low-Carb Version

  • Choose a low-carb pasta substitute like shirataki noodles or konjac pasta.
  • Use a low-carb tomato sauce or make your own with fresh tomatoes and herbs.
  • Reduce the amount of onions and tomatoes to lower the carb content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use spicy Italian sausage?

Absolutely! Feel free to use spicy Italian sausage if you prefer a bit of heat in your pasta bake.

Q2: Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?

Certainly! Assemble the pasta bake, cover it, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. Adjust the baking time accordingly.

Q3: Can I freeze Cream Cheese and Sausage Pasta Bake?

Yes, you can freeze it before or after baking. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven.

Q4: Can I use dried basil instead of fresh?

While fresh basil provides a vibrant flavor, you can substitute with dried basil. Use about 1 teaspoon of dried basil for every tablespoon of fresh.

Q5: What can I serve with this pasta bake?

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It pairs well with a side salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

Indulge in the luscious symphony of flavors that our Cream Cheese and Sausage Pasta Bake offers – a dish that seamlessly combines the richness of cream cheese, the heartiness of Italian sausage, and the comforting warmth of perfectly baked pasta. Whether you’re serving it for a cozy family dinner or impressing guests at a gathering, this pasta bake is sure to be a hit. Customize it with your favorite variations, explore the keto or low-carb options, and make each bite a celebration of culinary delight. Get ready to savor the creamy, cheesy perfection in every forkful!

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