Comfort dinner x 2! This Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta Casserole makes 2 full casseroles – eat one now, and the second casserole freezes well for later!
Let’s talk freezer meals, shall we?
I know, a riveting subject. But when your life is crazy, but you still want a homemade meal on the table at the end of the day, you start to have this great hope for delicious freezer meals.
But I will be the first to admit that they aren’t all that great. In fact, some of them are downright inedible. Often loaded with pasta that goes to mush because it’s drenched in cream-of-something soup, you might as well not even put dinner on the table because no one is going to want to eat it.
But I’ve been on the lookout. For freezer meals that actually taste good after their time in the deep freeze. There have been some failures. And happily, there have been some winners. That give me hope that this whole idea of stocking my freezer with meals is an idea that actually might work.
And one of those successful freezer meals is this Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta.
Really – you can’t go wrong with this if you like comforting pasta dinners. And then a few weeks later, I pulled the frozen casserole out of the freezer. I honestly was prepared for it to be a mushy mess. But do you know what? It wasn’t. In fact, I think we actually liked the frozen casserole better than the first. Maybe the flavors had time to meld together. I don’t know. But it was wonderful.
We are definitely calling this Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta a freezer success!
Pasta: I’ve used penne pasta, but any short cut pasta will work.
Kielbasa: I used a beef kielbasa, but you could also use turkey or pork.
Oil: Any neutral oil will work here – olive oil, vegetable, canola, or avocado are some of the more popular.
Vegetables: The vegetables bring flavor and texture. We used onion, zucchini, carrots, and garlic. If you have other vegetables on hand that you think will work well, feel free to try them out!
Spaghetti Sauce: Make sure you use a spaghetti sauce that you already like.
Tomatoes: You do not need to drain the can of diced tomatoes.
Egg: The egg will help to keep the ricotta together.
Cheese: This is the fun part, because you are using a mixture of ricotta, cheddar, and mozzarella. The ricotta cheese gives the final dish a bit of creaminess, and the cheddar and mozzarella make it super cheesy.
Green Onions: The green onions add some freshness to the final dish. Feel free to leave these off, if desired.
How to Make this Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta
- Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Brown the sausage in a hot pan, then remove it. Add the vegetables (minus the garlic) to the pan and cook to soften, adding the garlic in the last 30 seconds.
- Stir in the spaghetti sauce and the diced tomatoes and let the mixture simmer.
- While that is simmering, combine the egg and the ricotta cheese in a small bowl.
- Now it is time to assemble! Working with two large casserole dishes, layer 1/4 of the pasta in each dish. (So at this point you would have used half of the pasta.) Top each with 1/4 of each the vegetable mixture, the sausage, dollops of the ricotta, then both the cheddar and mozzarella. Repeat the layers.
- For the casserole that you are going to eat: cover it with foil, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Top with green onions before serving.
Freezing the Casserole
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you have one now, and freeze one for later. Here are a few tips for freezing the second dish of Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta.
Use a freezer safe casserole dish or a disposable aluminum pan to layer the ingredients for the casserole that you are going to freeze.
I like to cover the dish with plastic wrap, and then with foil.
Make sure that it is cooled completely before covering.
Once covered, label the dish with the name, date, and cooking instructions.
You can freeze the pasta for 3-4 months.
To reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, then bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes. (Make sure to remove the plastic wrap first!) Remove the foil then bake for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melted.
More Favorite Pasta Recipes
Looking for more free recipes?
Comfort dinner x 2! This Cheesy Kielbasa Pasta makes 2 full casseroles – eat one now, and the second casserole freezes well for later!
- 12 oz penne pasta
- 2 (14 oz each) packages of kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise then sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jar (24 oz) spaghetti sauce
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1–2 green onions, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then salt generously. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned on both sides. Remove the sausage from the pan to a plate and cover lightly with foil. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and drain the remainder. Return the pan to the heat and add the onion, zucchini and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 30 seconds.
- Stir the spaghetti sauce and the undrained tomatoes into the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg and the ricotta cheese.
- Spray 2 9×13-inch baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray. (Make sure one is freezer safe. I like to use a disposable aluminum pan.)
- In each of the pans, layer one fourth of each of the drained pasta, the tomato sauce, the sausage, the ricotta mixture, cheddar cheese, and then the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers.
- Cover the casserole that you are going to eat with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 15 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted. Top with sliced green onions before serving.
- Let the second casserole cool completely, the place a piece of plastic wrap over the top. Cover tightly with foil and freeze.
- When ready to bake, allow the casserole to unthaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Carefully remove the foil and discard the plastic wrap. Recover the casserole with the foil and bake at 350º for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
adapted from Taste of Home Ultimate 9×13 Cookbook
Nutrition information provided as an estimate only. Various brands and products can change the counts. Any nutritional information should be used as a general guide.
- Serving Size: 1/16 of recipe
- Calories: 453
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 717 mg
- Fat: 29 g
- Saturated Fat: 14 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 21 g
- Cholesterol: 82 mg
Keywords: kielbasa pasta, kielbasa recipe with pasta