Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sicilian Casserole

Sicilian Casserole

My cousin, Nicole, asked me for a pasta and sausage casserole recipe this morning and said she couldn't find it on the blog.  I searched, and to my surprise, I never posted this!  I'm still searching for the picture since he made it the first time in the summer of 2010.  We froze one of the casseroles, and we had it for dinner on his first day of Kindergarten.  (Too bad I didn't realize it wasn't posted when Breckin made this LAST week.)

This was the first meal for our oldest son, Breckin, to cook by himself at age 6. It's not the healthiest meal that we eat, but everyone loves it.  It's a nice treat.  Our twins devour this dish and have since the first time they had it at age 1.  Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 mins                             Total Time: 45 mins

1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed (I use half mild or sweet and half spicy)     
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped                                                             
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce                                                         
3/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning                                              
2 cups elbow macaroni (we actually use Gemelli instead of macaroni)
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed                                                          
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream                                                                             
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage, onion and pepper in saucepan. Cook until sausage is done. Drain well.
  2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, and dried Italian seasoning and stir well to blend.
  3. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, combine cream cheese and milk in medium bowl. Cook in microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from microwave and stir with wire whisk until sauce is smooth.
  5. Drain noodles and add to cream cheese sauce along with sour cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; stir.
  6. In 2 quart casserole dish, place all of cream cheese mixture. Top with all of the sausage mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until casserole is bubbly.

**To freeze, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the cream cheese sauce. Prepare casserole as directed, except instead of baking, chill in refrigerator. Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months.
To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator.
Bake, covered, for 25-35 minutes 5 minutes longer until bubbly.

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