The baby bella mushrooms are more flavorful and meatier than white button mushrooms, so I highly recommend using them. If you are concerned about the spice factor, then opt for a mild Italian turkey sausage. If you can't find turkey sausage, most stores have pork Italian sausages, just be aware the nutritional info may go up some. If you have a gluten intolerance, just substitute the pasta and bread crumbs for gluten free versions (rice, quinoa, etc).
Skinny Baked Italian Pasta
Cook Time: < 35 minutes
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
- 1 lb of whole wheat penne pasta
- 6 cups of plain organic tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 8oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach
- 1 lb of grass-fed lean ground beef
- 2 hot Italian turkey sausages, remove from casing
- 1 cup of part skim ricotta
- 1/3 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 1oz fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- olive oil spray
In a large stock pot, cook the penne in salted water, until almost completely cooked (make sure to not over cook). Drain the pasta and set aside in a side bowl.
In a medium pot add the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning and bring to almost a boil. Cover, lower heat and allow to simmer while everything is cooking. Add salt and pepper if you'd like. This sauce should simmer about 10 minutes or longer.
As the pasta and sauce is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and allow to saute for about 4-5 minutes.
Then add the mushrooms, spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to cook for 4-5 more minutes. Remove from the stove and set it aside on a side plate. Wipe down the skillet.
In the same skillet, add the ground beef and turkey sausage. Crumble and brown until completely cooked through (about 10 minutes).
Then in the large stock pot you used to cook the pasta, add the pasta back in, mushroom mixture, cooked ground meat, tomato sauce and the ricotta cheese. Stir everything together well. Make sure to coat the pasta well with the sauce.
In a 13 x 9 pan, pour the pasta mixture in and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, parsley and cheese over top. Spray lightly with a little olive oil spray over the top of the breadcrumbs.
Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Then place under the broiler for 1 minute or 2 to brown to the top. Allow the pasta to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Nutritional Info per (generous-sized) serving:
Calories: 425 ; Fat: 11.5g ; Carbohydrate: 50g ; Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 5g ; Protein: 29g
Nutritional Info per Serving:
Calories: 420 ; Fat: 10.5g ; Carbohydrate: 50g; Fiber: 9g ; Sugar: 7.5g ; Protein: 29.5g