This insanely delicious sausage pasta bake tastes exactly like a lasagne but with much less effort. Cooked pasta in a creamy tomato sauce flavoured with sausages and crispy bacon and topped with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Baked to golden perfection, this dish is truly one the whole family will enjoy. I promise, you will love this.
Hello! There are certain dishes I get really excited writing up as I just KNOW you'll love it. As much as I absolutely love my best bolognese sauce (and lasagne bolognese) this has as much flavour but takes such little time in comparison. A little more doable for a busy weeknight but also impressive enough to cook for family and friends.
It is super simple to make using a mixture of pork and beef sausages to flavour the slightly creamy tomato sauce. Crisp bacon adds some punch and the mixture of parmesan and mozzarella give a melty but golden topping. If this is your first time making a pasta bake, you're in for a real treat!
Pasta - Baked ziti is the traditional option but not always easy to find so you could use penne pasta or elicoidali like I have. Undercooking it by a minute or two from package directions is key to make sure it is still al dente after baking.
Bacon - I like to use streaky bacon but use whatever you like.
Sausages - Using raw sausages instead of pure ground meat adds so much more flavour. I use a combination of pork and fennel and beef sausages. Use whatever you like, you could use all pork or all beef. Alternatively you could use chicken sausage too.
Tomato passata - this is a smooth tomato sauce which can also be called tomato puree. It is NOT tomato paste. It makes the meat sauce thicker and more luscious. I tested this recipe first with canned tomatoes and the sauce was a lot thinner as canned tomatoes are more watery. If you can't find passata then substitute for 2 x 400g cans tomatoes. Puree them really well. You could also use a marinara sauce.
Cream - This makes the sauce texture so luscious and really helps give it that lasagne feel. Use a light or single cream, heavy cream is too thick.
Cheese - This is quite a cheesy sausage pasta bake! There is a mix of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I use parmesan in the actual pasta sauce as well as on top. Try and find a block of mozzarella so you can grate it yourself.
How to make sausage pasta bake
How to make the sauce
- Get a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
- Over a medium-high heat, fry the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven until crisp and golden, set aside.
- Lower to a medium heat, cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic and fennel seeds. Add a drizzle of olive oil if you need.
- Add the sausage meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until almost cooked through.
- Add the passata and cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the cooked bacon back in along with the parmesan cheese and lemon juice and let it gently simmer on a low heat while you cook the pasta.
How to assemble
- When the pasta is drained and ready, reserve a cup of the sausage tomato sauce mixture and set aside.
- Mix the pasta into the remaining meat sauce.
- In a 9 x 13 inch (or there abouts) casserole dish place half of the pasta mixture into an even layer.
- Sprinkle the lemon zest on top evenly then follow with the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Place the other half of the pasta mix on top then the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. You can cover with some aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.
There is so much flavour going on here so I would serve with a simple side salad and some crusty bread! My favourite side for pasta it to cut some iceberg lettuce (or cos) into wedges, drizzle with your favourite salad dressing and some grated parmesan cheese or panko breadcrumbs.
Yes absolutely! Assemble the pasta bake then wait for it to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer. If freezing then let it defrost for 24 hours in the fridge. It will need to be cooked longer in the oven if cooking from the fridge the next day, add an extra 10 minutes and cover with foil if it gets too brown.
It's the perfect meal to store after! Transfer portions to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 - 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Traditionally it is ziti and penne is very similar to that. I have used a but have also tested it with rigatoni pasta and it was perfect.
Want some other delicious recipes to try?
I have lots of pasta dishes I know you will come to love and depend on! If you love a meaty sauce and have a bit more time then please make my White Pork Ragu! The original recipe that inspired this sauce is my Creamy Tomato and Sausage Pasta. For another baked option look no further than my Nduja Mac and Cheese.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print