Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Who doesn’t love a good mac & cheese? How about baked penne with Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes?

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l

Who also doesn’t love a recipe that is fun to make? One that isn’t your usual; chop and sauté onions in olive oil blah blah blah… kind of recipe? Instead you get to slice up sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms, cook up Italian sausage, make a béchamel and there is cheese, lots and lots of it!

This recipe really is fun and simple; you might not think so by the ingredient photo, but just like any other recipe, it’s easy as long as you have your ingredients in order. Get everything minced, slice and browned beforehand. Otherwise you won’t have fun if your mincing garlic as your Italian sausage is burning!


I know it seems like a lot… but really it’s simple!

Start by buttering two 2 quart casserole dishes. I have only a 1.5 and a 2.5 quart dish, so I used those. As long as they add up to 4 quarts any dishes will do. I used the small {1.5} quart for dinner that night since it was just me and my daughters} and I froze the larger {2.5 quart} for another nights family dinner.


Smash, peel and mince four garlic cloves and set aside.


Pull out a few sundried tomatoes.


Slice into thin strips.

Keep going until you have a 1/2 cup.

Slice up the crimini or baby bella mushrooms.

Grate the provolone and parmesan cheeses.

Next add the one pound of Italian sausage to some olive oil in a large skillet.

Cook over medium heat.

Just until the sausage is cooked thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

Also while I was browning the sausage I brought a pot of water to a boil and cooked a whole pound of penne pasta for a total of 9 minutes or just 3 minutes shy of being al dente.

Now, let’s start on the béchamel. Measure 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Melt in a large pot or enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

While the butter is melting; get a half cup plus two tablespoons of flour, the minced garlic and the 6 cups of whole milk ready.

Once the butter is melted and slightly bubbly, add in the garlic and flour.

Cook for one minute.

Slow and steadily pour in the whole milk while whisking. Bring up to a small simmer.

Add in some freshly grated nutmeg. This is my favorite part… the smell of nutmeg when it hits the sauce is simply heavenly!

Whisk until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Add in the tomatoes and sliced mushrooms…

…and then the cooked Italian sausage.

Give it a stir.

Add in the provolone cheese and a 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

Stir and then add in the penne pasta.

Season with some salt a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Divide amongst the two casseroles.

Sprinkle each with the remaining cup of parmesan. Wrap one, once it has cooled, in heavy aluminum foil and pop it in the freezer. Bake the other in a 400 degree oven until bubbly and browned or about 20-25 minutes.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
This smells AMAZING! It’s gonna be hard, but you’re gonna have to let it rest for 5 loooong minutes.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
And it’s almost too pretty to cut into.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
But not that pretty.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
Dish it up!

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
Serve along with a fresh salad and you got yourself a cozy meal! And those crispy-cheesy bits are the BEST!

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l
OH YUM! My girls and I LoVe this pasta dish and I hope you do too!

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Who doesn't love a good mac & cheese? How about baked penne with Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes? It's comfort food at its best!

Yield: Two [2 quart] casseroles will feed 8 people

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, plus more for baking dishes

Coarse salt and Ground Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg, grated

1 pound Penne Rigate Pasta

1 teaspoon Olive Oil

1 pound Ground Italian Sausage {not in casings}

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups Whole Milk, room temperature

8 ounces Crimini Mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup oil-packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced

1-1/2 cups {or 6 ounces} Sharp Provolone Cheese, freshly grated

1-1/2 cup {or 4 ounces} Parmesan Cheese, finely grated


Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes {or equivalent}.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Brown Italian sausage until cooked all the way through. Remove from heat to cool.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Once melted add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, and in the fresh grated nutmeg and whisk frequently until thickened. Add mushrooms, sausage and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with the remaining cup Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*for freezing: Prepare up until after sprinkling with Parmesan and let pasta cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze up to 3 months.

*reheating frozen pasta:Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and bake {still covered in foil} on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until hot in the center. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

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33 Responses to “Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes”

  1. #
    Jennifer — February 17, 2011 at 5:21 am

    penne and mushrooms… deeeeelicious! Looks stunning!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. #
    Muriel Miller — February 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Oh my this looks heavenly! Can't wait to try this!

  3. #
    theblogisthenewblack — February 17, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Heavenly little pasta dish!

  4. #
    Pretend Chef — February 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    This is my kind of mac n' cheese. The sundried tomatoes make me giddy! The browned bits of cheese on top are the best. Looks so delicious and crave worthy.

  5. #
    Andrea the Kitchen Witch — February 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Holy deliciousness! Mmm this looks SO good! Love the baked cheesy topping, delicious!

  6. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — February 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    This is on my "To-Make" list for this weekend! I've had some italian sausage in my freezer forever that needs to be used.

  7. #
    Kelly — February 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Whoah! Looks so yummy. This would be a great dish to take to friends after having a baby. I'll remember this one, and maybe try it out first. 🙂

  8. #
    amanda — February 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    wow, this recipe just kept getting better and better as i scrolled through the photos. amazing!

  9. #
    cailen ascher — February 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    omg! that pasta looks delectable!!! so yummy : )

    awesome blog and great pictures. i'm your newest follower.

    til next time,

  10. #
    Jennifurla — February 17, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    wozer…drool..pass the napkin. What a decadent lovely dish, and the milk pouring picture has me swooning.

  11. #
    The Food Hound — February 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Hey girl! Just found your blog– love love love it!! Congrats on being on FoodBuzz! We have an identical food philosophy, but I need to step up my photography skills to match yours 🙂 A new camera is coming into my life very soon! Can't wait to peruse all your recipes!

  12. #
    Nichole — February 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I'm so sad I missed out trying this one – it looks so good! I'll take the frozen one around the end of July please 🙂

  13. #
    Erika — February 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Oh my.. this looks amazing! I'm going to try this asap!

  14. #
    Adam M. — February 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Looks like a great dish. I do a variation of it, where I cook the butter with garlic and shock it with a little vodka. Then i add the flour. I have also added a little marinara to make a pink sauce. You can't go wrong with any variation. Great Recipe!!!

  15. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — February 19, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Jennifer.. it is DEEELICIOUS!

  16. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — February 19, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Hi Cailen! So nice to meet you! 🙂

  17. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — February 19, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Adam! That sounds yummy! Thanks for the suggestion!

  18. #
    Indie.Tea — February 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    What a decadent pasta/mac n cheese. It looks delicious and very grown-up 🙂

  19. #
    Christine — February 25, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Laurie, I made this and it was a huge hit!!!!! I added some salt and red pepper flakes too. You know how I like spice 😉 I ate the remaining for left overs and it tasted even better then the night before!!!! I froze the other portion and cannot wait to have this again!!!! It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — February 25, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Christine! I am so glad you liked it!! We just made the second "frozen batch" and loved it as much as the first one!! 🙂

  21. #
    sadelikta38 — June 7, 2011 at 12:02 am

    this was sooooo yummy!!!! what a great dish to come home to after a crappy day at work!!! 🙂

  22. #
    Jackie — August 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Hi Laurie

    After you freeze this dish, how do you bake it. Do you thaw it first or just bake it right from the freezer. Also, how long and at what temperature.

  23. #
    Jackie — August 9, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Hi Laurie

    I made this dish for my sunday dinner and everybody loved it. They said it had a nice flavor and really delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will be making it again.

  24. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 10, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Hi Jackie! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment! I'm so happy you and everyone liked it!! I love this dish too!! 🙂

  25. #
    Anonymous — October 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight. It's my husbands new favorite. It's so amazing. I can't wait to try another one your recipes. Thank you!!

  26. #
    thinklovesleepdine — November 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I found you on pinterest and I made this when I had family over for dinner the other night. It was fantastic! Next time I might use hot Italian sausage to give it some kick, but there will definitely be a next time. Everyone loved it.

  27. #
    Anonymous — March 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Trying to make this for tonight looks so yummy but i am having a hard time finding the nutmeg and sharp prov do you know where i can find them?

  28. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — March 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

    You should be able to find them at your local store. But r
    egular provelone can be substituted!

  29. #
    Anonymous — March 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks 🙂 for those of you that have sprouts grocery I found the nutmeg and provolone there making this tonight 🙂

  30. #
    Britton — April 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Laurie! I’m thinking of making this pasta…how do you think it would taste without the mushrooms? Are they essential? Thanks!

    • simplyscratch replied: — April 1st, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

      Hi Britton! I don’t think the mushrooms are essential… so go for it!

  31. #
    Kiki C. — January 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Just tried this and it was delish with a wonderful flavor. Perfect for a hearty meal with fabulous cheese quotient during these extra cold winter nights. Be sure to use whole mik as written to have it all come together beautifully. One percent made it a little liquidy, tho the taste was terrific.


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