Sausage Meatball Pasta Bake with Vodka Sauce - Handmade in the Heartland

Sausage Meatball Pasta Bake with Vodka Sauce

Does your family have favorite go-to dinners? Every family does, right. Well its kind of rare that i have a dish that i make multiple times, even rarer still that i make it more than 3 times.  Matt always tells people that we never eat the same dinner twice, which isn't really that untrue.  I guess i try to make new things because my pinterest boards and magazine clippings and cookbooks with dog-eared pages are just overflowing with tons of recipes to try.  However, i have made this sausage meatball pasta bake with vodka sauce more times than i can remember.  Its fail-proof, always delicious and feeds a crowd. 

Sausage Meatball Pasta Bake with Vodka Sauce, Serves 8
this recipe comes from Simply Suppers, one of my favorite cookbooks

olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
¼ cup vodka
1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
S & P
1 pound sweet italian sausage
1 box pasta, cooked
1 cup fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil and add the onion to the pan. Cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the vodka and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, cream, oregano and thyme.  Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Season with Salt & Pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, roll the sausage meat into 1 inch balls. In another large skillet over medium-high heat saute the meatballs until well browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until they are no longer pink in the middle- until the sauce thickens.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, meatballs & sauce, and spinach leaves. Toss until well combined.

You can either bake the entire recipe or split in half and freeze it for later.  If freezing add half to a baking dish and top with shredded Fontina cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until the top is slightly browned and bubbling.

Let the other half cool and put into a freezer container and freeze for later.  

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