Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!
I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies.
It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.
I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.
Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.
It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!
Tip! Lately I came across this website www.vacuumsealerresearch.com and found foodsaver reviews with many good tips so I decided to try vacuum sealer. I really like it.
This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
- 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
- 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
- Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
- Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.
Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas, condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.
Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.