Mama Steph's Heart-healthier Italian sausage pasta bake
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1 pound rigatoni
10 ounces baby spinach
12 ounces smoked chicken sausage,or Italian style turkey sausage, sliced
6 ounces fontina cheese: 4 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded lowfat mozzarella
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Return to heat; cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes and oregano; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half and half; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot. (or, add spinach directly into the sauce and stir until wilted)
Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes or one larger dish.
Top with grated fontina , mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.
Tip: To freeze, prepare the dish through step 4; let cool completely before covering tightly with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer. If you freeze this dish, do not thaw before baking. Remove plastic wrap, and cover with foil. Cook until heated through, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Remove foil, and continue with step 5.
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