This tasty Italian Sausage Bake is an easy family casserole dinner made with pasta, spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage links, cheese, and basil! With only 5 ingredients, it's a super meal to put together quickly and still serve up a hearty comfort food dinner that everyone will enjoy!
My super easy-to-make pasta with Italian sausage links has so much flavor and everything you need to enjoy a hearty, filling dinner! With only 5 basic ingredients layered into a casserole or baking dish, the prep time is as easy as the cleanup.
The sauce is as simple as your favorite jarred flavor, a spiced up marinara sauce, or some homemade spaghetti sauce. Pick out your favorite sausage links from brands like Johnsonville, Premio, Aidells, Applegate Farms, and Swaggerty Farms to make this easy pasta bake!
I can't help myself, I tend to add in vegetables and cheeses that need to be used up before having to be thrown out. This dish is a wonderful casserole to make additions to. Plus, it freezes well so you can make double and freeze a batch or make it ahead for enjoying later!
- Olive Oil - just a splash of extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the casserole dish. You can always toss the cooked pasta in olive oil as well!
- Pasta - a nice chunky variety of pasta like the rotini (also called fusilli) seen here, or penne, or rigatoni, or ziti are all wonderful choices to pair with your tomato sauce.
- Italian Sausage - I like to use sweet Italian sausage, but your favorite sweet, hot, or mild Italian sausage links will add great flavor to this easy Italian pasta bake.
- Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce - Canned, jarred, or homemade marinara and spaghetti sauce all work in this hearty sausage casserole! You can even make a creamy Italian sausage bake by switching out the sauce to an alfredo sauce!
- Cheese - Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese are both freshly grated to top off my casserole. If you have provolone on hand, it brings a nice flavor to the casserole! To opt for a lighter calorie dinner, use less cheese, or use part-skim mozzarella cheese.
- Basil - there's nothing that brings out great Italian-inspired flavors than fresh chopped herbs like basil! Add some fresh oregano too! If you don't have fresh herbs available, sprinkle a bit of Italian seasoning over the cheese topping.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
How to Make an Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
Start this tasty casserole out by lightly greasing your 2.5-quart casserole dish, or a 9 x 13 baking pan. Gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 375ºF (190ºC) while assembling the casserole.
Assemble Your Italian Sausage Casserole
- Boil your pasta according to the package instructions, minus about 2 minutes for an al denté (or 'firm to the bite') texture. Drain and rinse the pasta with cool water and transfer to your prepared casserole or baking dish.
- Pour your preferred marinara or spaghetti sauce over the cooked pasta.
- Cut the Italian sausage links into chunks and layer them over the pasta and sauce, pushing into the layers below them until the top is covered.
- Top the casserole with shredded mozzarella cheese and/or Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle fresh, cut basil over the cheese topping. Bake uncovered at 375ºF (190ºC) for 35 - 40 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges. The chunks of Italian sausage should have an internal temperature of 160ºF (71ºC) as read by a digital meat thermometer.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Great stir-in ideas include mushrooms, green bell peppers, sweet bell peppers, freshly ground fennel seeds, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and of course...more cheese!
You can make your casserole ahead of time, simply prepare according to the instructions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake, then allow a few extra minutes of cooking time.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store any remaining casserole in an airtight container. Once fully cooled, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 - 4 days.
Freeze your assembled casserole by wrapping with plastic cling film once fully cooled. Add a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and seal tightly. Your casserole is best used within 2 - 3 months of being frozen.
Thaw the frozen Italian sausage pasta bake overnight in the refrigerator when ready to bake and serve. Set the thawed casserole out on the countertop to warm to room temperature before baking.
To reheat leftovers in the microwave, simply portion out onto a plate and cover with a paper towel. Microwave in one-minute bursts, and stir between heating to heat your casserole evenly.
To reheat leftover Italian sausage bake in the oven, portion out your desired amount (single portions or family-sized amount) into an oven-safe dish. Warm at 250ºF (121ºC) until fully heated and serve.
🇮🇹 More Great Italian Dinners
- Chicken Parmesan
- Creamy Beef & Shells
- Classic Pesto Pasta
- Baked Italian Sausage
- Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
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Italian Sausage Bake
- 1 lb Italian sausage (Italian sausage links - sweet, mild, or spicy)
- 24 oz spaghetti sauce (your favorite brand)
- 16 oz rotini pasta (or penne pasta)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (optional - shredded or grated)
- 1 tablespoon basil (optional - fresh, chopped)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and lightly grease your 2.5-quart casserole or baking dish, or a 9 x 13 baking pan with extra virgin olive oil.
- Cook your rotini, penne, rigatoni, or ziti pasta per the package instructions, minus about two minutes for an al dente texture. Drain and rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process.16 oz rotini pasta
- Transfer the cooked pasta to your prepared baking dish.
- Pour marinara or spaghetti sauce over the cooked pasta layer.24 oz spaghetti sauce
- Cut your Italian sausage links into chunks and press them into the top of the sauce layer.1 lb Italian sausage
- Grate mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses then spread over the top of the sausage layer.1 cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Top with fresh cut basil and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 35-40 minutes. The casserole should be bubbling around the edges and the sausage pieces should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) when done.1 tablespoon basil
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with more cheese, basil, or chopped parsley if desired.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!