Cheesy Italian Baked Pasta

Cheesy Italian Baked Pasta
Photo: Karla Conrad
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
9 cups


  • 2 medium red sweet peppers or 1 cup chopped roasted red sweet peppers

  • 9 ounce dry whole grain or multigrain ziti or penne pasta

  • 1 ½ tablespoon light butter with canola oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • teaspoon salt

  • teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ½ cup milk

  • 12 ounce bulk Italian turkey sausage

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed

  • 1 ½ cup purchased marinara sauce

  • 1 ½ cup reduced-fat shredded Italian-blend cheese

  • Fresh oregano leaves (optional)


  1. If using fresh red sweet peppers, preheat oven to 450°F. Cut peppers into quarters; remove stems and seeds. Place pepper quarters, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until skins are evenly charred. Bring edges of foil up around peppers to enclose. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Using a small sharp knife, peel off charred skin and discard. Chop the peppers. (If using roasted red sweet peppers, skip this step.)

  2. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

  3. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until combined; cook and stir until bubbly but not brown. Whisk in milk all at once; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

  4. In a large skillet cook sausage and onion over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and oregano. Stir in milk mixture. Add roasted red peppers, drained pasta, pasta sauce, and half of the cheese; stir until well combined. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish. Cover with foil.

  5. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and pasta is heated. If desired top with oregano leaves.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

423 Calories
14g Fat
47g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 423
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 1054mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 54.2mg 271%
Calcium 316mg 24%
Iron 2.5mg 14%
Potassium 413mg 9%
Folate, total 37mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.3mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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