Prepare for the best pasta dish you may ever taste – I’m not kidding!
Life is pretty chaotic around here. My kids’ schoolwork and activities are picking up speed, this is the busy season for my work, holiday events are beginning to fill the calendar, our home is being renovated, all the normal mom stuff, and I have a very active 3-year-old with an insatiable need to tell me everything on his mind.
That all might sound pretty exhausting to manage, but do you know who feels even more exhausted right now? Mothers of newborns.
When my son was born almost four years ago, I was a mess. I had waited so long through infertility to hold a baby that I couldn’t stand putting him down. During those first few weeks, I could only sleep when I was holding him, which was pretty problematic for the both of us, and then he couldn’t sleep lying down until we figured out his reflux issues. And then there is the recovery from the stress of childbirth and still taking care of other kids. I was T.I.R.E.D.
During that blur, I clearly remember my friend Lurana bringing me one of the best meals of my life. I’m not exaggerating. After dinner that night, I became territorial over the leftovers, which was tough because everyone wanted more.
(Isn’t he perfect? He is still my baby, but now he talks to me nonstop instead of crying nonstop.)
As soon as I felt ready to cook post-baby, I begged my friend for the recipe. She is one of those impressive cooks who throws in a little of this and a little of that, so she wrote down what she remembered. I took her notes and adjusted it a little and standardized it so that I could confidently double or triple the recipe for freezer meals. That’s how the recipe got it’s name “New Baby Penne Rigate” or “New Baby Pasta” (as my kids call it) – I always wanted to remember how good it tasted at a crazy time in my life.
You need this!
Whether or not you have a newborn at home, you need this recipe in your life! When I shopped for the ingredients, I found a fantastic pasta at Walmart: La Moderna. The price was good enough that I bought a few extra boxes to keep on hand, but there is absolutely no compromise on the taste. Plus, La Moderna is a high protein pasta, which just makes me feel better about choosing it for my family. (I always keep pasta on hand for a fast, convenient dinner! Feeding a family of 6 in a hurry without spending too much can be a challenge… need I say more?)
Use this locator to find a local store that carries La Moderna pasta! Look for the pretty Golden Harvest wheat on the black box when you’re in the pasta aisle.
The Penne Rigate turned out perfectly in my recipe.
Now time for the recipe…
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 1 jar Alfredo sauce
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoon garlic
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 16 oz Penne Rigate Pasta
- 1-1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
- In large pot, brown sausage and remove grease.
- In same pot with sausage, add other sauce ingredients - sauces, spices, milk, and sugar. Bring to a low boil for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- While sauce is reducing, cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Mix pasta and sauce together in a 9x13 pan.
- Top with cheese. (Freeze now if you want.)
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. (If baking FROZEN pan, cook for 20 or so minutes longer while still covered.)
Double, Triple & Freeze-ABLE!
This is the meal I always take for my friends having babies or friends just needing a night off from cooking for whatever reason, because it can go straight into their oven, or straight in the freezer! Plus, it is one of those meals that can be transported easily in a standard aluminum pan that no one has to return!
As I was preparing this recipe last week to take to a friend, I made a pan for my house too, because this recipe doubles and triples really well without any extra work! I got this text from my friend last night… I’m serious, EVERYONE loves this!
Once my girls realized what I was making, they seriously cheered and offered to help… they were excited. This is a FAVORITE!!
And then they needed a taste before dinner because they couldn’t wait for the friend’s meal to be delivered before our dinner. I couldn’t say no! (The entire bowls were eaten up and then we ate it again for dinner like Round 1 never happened.) If you’re looking for Pasta Recipes for Kids, look no further!
This is a tried and true freezer meal. I’ve frozen and baked this from frozen countless times.
- I use the disposable aluminum pans with the aluminum lids.
- I prepare the noodles slightly al dente, which is just a fancy way of saying I stop cooking the noodles before they’re really soft.
- I always freeze before I bake so the shredded cheese doesn’t over-cook. I want it perfectly melty. (Is melty a word?)
- Re-heat while frozen with the oven-safe lid on for approximately double the time, but check the center to make sure it is warm throughout before you take the lid off or remove from the oven! Once it is warm in the center, take the top off and let the cheese get melty and golden brown.
You are welcome.
So that’s it. The world’s best pasta dish, the most amazing pasta dish you’ll ever eat… right here.