Baked Penne with Italian Sausage Recipe Reviews - Allrecipes.com (Pg. 1)
Reviewed: Jun. 14, 2007
This dish is a good simple dish, but if you want some real flavor, you have to nurture it a bit. I took this recipe, but changed it as such: It's fine to deglaze with the wine, but cook the sauce in a different skillet. When starting the sauce, use a bit of olive oil, and take some shallots, minced onion, or shaved red onion, and simmer it in the oil. Add a bit of minced garlic. Take some basil leaves and throw those in the oil for one minute, and then add the tomatoes, etc. The flavor will be MUCH more substantial. I found the regular recipe to be a nice family dinner recipe, but not much more (in case you want to impress).
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Cooking Level: Professional

Home Town: San Diego, California, USA
Living In: Champaign, Illinois, USA

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Reviewed: Aug. 26, 2005
I made this recipe after checking out the review and I too got the same review from my boyfriend, that it was restaurant quality. Even my Italian roommate who's from Milan loved it and said it was great. The only thing is I couldn't find Italian sausage at my local grocery store that was not already in a sausage casing. I bought it anyway and squeezed the sausage out. It worked well but I also used hot sausage which I think added some flavor. Considering the recipe doesn't call for any spices I think the spicyness enhanced the flavor. Another thing I found was cooking the pasta to al dente was still too long and by the time it was baked in the oven it came out softer than I wanted it. Next time I'll only cook the penne about 5 minutes in boiling water or I'll immediately submerge it in cold water to the cooking. Other than that the recipe is a keeper and I'll be making it again and again.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

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Reviewed: Nov. 1, 2002
LOVED THIS!!! BUT, I changed it a tad, I used a smaller can of tomato sauce and used a jar of garden style spaghetti sauce (which has green peppers and mushrooms) instead of the tomatoes and tomato paste. I liked subtle taste of wine in the pasta bake. My family just gobbled this up.
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Reviewed: Mar. 27, 2003
My husband and I rarely find anything that we both like when it comes to just about anything, but especially food. But last night we both loved this dish. I knew it was a hit when he wrapped it up really well to save the leftovers. I didn't have any wine, so I just omitted it, I added a dash of sugar to cut down on the tomato zing and added some oregano. We will be having this again and again. Thanks!
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Reviewed: Jan. 16, 2003
This was a big hit in our house last evening. Yummy! I didn't have white wine in the house when making the dish, and it STILL tasted great. I also used turkey sausage in the dish, to cut down on some fat.
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Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2003
We really liked this. To make it more "kid-friendly" for my picky 11-yr old, I added pepperoni to the top of the casserole before the cheese. He really liked it. I also added about 1/2 tsp of Italian Herb Seasoning, although after eating it, it probably didn't need it. It was flavorful enough with the other ingredients. The pepperoni will be a standard ingredient when I make this again, though.
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Reviewed: Mar. 6, 2008
Rating based on changes noted below: Cooked italian sausage w/o the onions & oil, used red wine instead of white wine, used cabernet marinara sauce, instead of the tomato sauce, used fire roasted tomatoes and garlic powder instead of canned tomatoes and garlic. Once the pasta was cooked, I reserved some of the water, added the water to the sauce, added about 1 tsp of italian seasoning, and also added in some ricotta cheese. Mixed the pasta, and sausage mixture together, and then put it into a casserole dish. Instead of using all mozzarella, I used a 6 cheese italian combo, and then added a small amount of parmesan cheese...this was fantastic!
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Reviewed: Aug. 9, 2002
Not being a big baked pasta fan, my husband saw I was making this and looked a little disappointed. But, once he ate it, he changed his tune. He really liked it and so did I. The only change I made was I added a couple of extra cloves of garlic while cooking the meat and onions.
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Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2013
This recipe is missing two key ingredients - garlic and basil. Once you add those, it takes this up to five delicious stars! Also, when browning the sausage and onions (and this is the time to add the garlic, mince two or three cloves and saute with the meat and onions), you do NOT need to do this in the oil called for. The sausage will provide more than enough fat for the saute without adding more. It's a waste of your olive oil, so just leave it out. When you add the tomatoes to the pan, that's the time to add about a teaspoon of dried basil (and even a 1/4 teaspoon of oregano if you like, that adds a nice flavor to the dish too!).
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

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Reviewed: Mar. 19, 2003
The family really enjoyed this and it reheated very well the next day. I will use spicy sausage next time though or add crushed red pepper. My husband thought he could taste the wine (he didn't complain about it) but I couldn't specifically detect it. Thought it had great flavor.
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