Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

This Macaroni and Sausage Casserole, with its tomato-based sauce, is flavorful and easy to make. The casserole is perfect for weeknights. Add a green salad and some rolls, bread, or biscuits for a hearty and satisfying dinner.

This recipe makes a large casserole (expect requests for second servings!) but it can be made ahead and frozen either in its entire size or portioned into smaller servings. It also makes a great take-along dish to potlucks and gatherings.

Macaroni Dish
Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

Ingredients:

8 oz dry macaroni, cooked according to package directions

1 – 284ml (apx 10 oz) can tomato soup
1 cup milk (no less than 2%)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup green pepper, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb raw sausage meat, casings removed

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (freshly shredded)

Method:

Boil water in large pot to have ready for cooking macaroni.

Grease 1½-quart casserole dish or spray with non-stick cooking oil.

Assemble and measure out all ingredients.

Shred the cheddar cheese using the large hole side of a grater. Grate the Parmesan cheese on a microplane or on a fine hole grater.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

In large measuring cup or bowl, mix the ingredients for the sauce – tomato soup, milk, sour cream, tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings together. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic, stirring it constantly for about 15-20 seconds. Do not let garlic scorch. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet, breaking the meat up well. Reduce heat slightly and cook the sausage meat, stirring frequently until meat is browned and no pink remains. Drain in a wire mesh sieve and discard the liquid.

While the vegetables and meat are being cooked, cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain in sieve or colander.

Place meat mixture and macaroni in large heatproof bowl and stir in the sauce. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake casserole, uncovered, for approximately 12-14 minutes, just long enough to reheat the contents and melt the cheese topping. Do not overbake casserole or it will become dry.

Serve with a side salad of choice and biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Casserole freezes well.

Yield: Apx. 8 servings

Supper Casserole
Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

Can another pasta shape, other than macaroni, be used in this recipe?

I recommend macaroni be used as the recipe has been developed and tested with it to ensure there is enough sauce to adequately coat and cover the ingredients. There may not be sufficient sauce for larger shapes of pasta though I have not tested the recipe with any pasta shape other than macaroni.

What kind of sausages are best to use in the casserole?

Any kind of sausage meat may be used. If you are lucky enough, like me, to have a great butcher shop nearby that makes their own sausages of various flavors, those are, in my opinion, the best to use because they are fresh and locally made in-store. I particularly like Feta and Spinach Sausages or Sun-dried Tomato Sausages in this casserole because the flavors of either of those blend well with the tomato base in the casserole. Honey Garlic or Sweet Italian sausages, for example, would also work well. If you like hotter, more spicy sausages, those could work, too. That is not to say that plain sausages or other flavors would not work as well. As with any ingredient, the better the quality and the more flavorful the sausage meat is, the more flavor the casserole will have.

Some butcher shops, like the one I patronize in Charlottetown, sell sausage meat, uncased, which makes it easier to use in casseroles like this one. If you are using whole sausages, be sure to remove the casings. Either way, be sure to crumble the meat up well when cooking it so that there are no large chunks of meat in the casserole and the sausage is well distributed throughout the casserole.

Can ground beef be used instead of sausage meat in this casserole?

Yes, if you wish, an equal amount of ground beef can be substituted for the pound of sausage meat called for in the recipe.

Can I leave the sour cream out of the recipe or what can I substitute for it?

I don’t recommend omitting ingredients in a recipe as this can cause inconsistent results and result in disappointment as certainly some of the intended flavors and texture will be impacted and the casserole will not be as tasty as intended. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of sour cream and that, in my opinion, would be too much to simply omit.

The sour cream adds a bit of tanginess to the flavor of the casserole as well as a lovely texture to the sauce. While I have not tested the recipe with any substitute for the sour cream, plain Greek yogurt might be a possible substitute as it has a similar consistency to sour cream.

This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. What do I do with the rest of the can of paste?

Freeze it! Tomato paste freezes really well and is handy to have on hand when a tablespoon or two is needed to boost flavor of a dish. In fact, I buy a large can of it and freeze it in 1 tablespoon measures. I portion out the tablespoons of tomato paste onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, placing the dobs of tomato paste about 3” – 4” or so apart and set the cookie sheet in the freezer. After the tomato paste has frozen, I cut apart the wax paper surrounding the portions of tomato paste and transfer the paste to a freezer container, pulling the wax paper up and around each of the tomato paste portions to keep them separated and prevent them from freezing together.

What kind of cheddar cheese can be used in the recipe?

Any kind at all – mild, medium, or old cheddar. I recommend freshly shredding the cheese from a block of cheese as opposed to using bagged pre-shredded cheese as I find the former melts better.

Can this casserole be prepared in advance and frozen for later use?

Yes! For meal planners and those who engage in batch cooking for the freezer, this Macaroni and Sausage Casserole is golden as it makes a large dish and can be frozen in its entirety in one dish or it can be distributed between several smaller serving-sized dishes! I recommend adding the shredded cheddar cheese just at the time of baking.

When I make this casserole, I freeze it in freezer and oven safe baking dishes in whatever serving size I need. I store the casserole(s) in airtight freezer containers. Some casseroles bake well either from frozen or thawed state. I find this particular casserole bakes better if it has first been thawed in the refrigerator because it will take less time to re-heat than if it is heated from frozen state which, for the longer time it would need in the oven, could dry the casserole out.

If you don’t have a baking dish (or dishes) that can be tied up with the casserole(s) in the freezer, the casserole(s) can be frozen for about 24 hours, or until frozen solid, in tin-foil lined freezer-safe baking dish(es) (i.e., the one(s) that the casserole will eventually be baked in) then, once frozen, removed from the dish(es) for longer freezer storage. When lining the baking dish(es), leave enough tinfoil overhang sufficient to cover the top of the casserole. Simply spray the tinfoil-lined baking dish(es) with a non-stick cooking oil then assemble the casserole in the dish(es) according to the recipe’s method. Pull the tin foil overhang up over the casserole top(s) and place the casserole(s), dish(es) and all, into airtight freezer bags or containers. Freeze for at least 24 hours or until solidly frozen. Then, remove the frozen tinfoil-lined casserole(s) from the dish(es), wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and return the casserole(s) to the airtight freezer bag(s) or container(s) for freezing until needed. Be sure to label and date the casserole(s).

When ready to bake the frozen casserole, remove the plastic wrap and tinfoil from the casserole and pop it back into the [greased] baking dish in which it was originally frozen, cover tightly with tin foil, and place it in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight), until it is thawed. Top the casserole with the shredded cheddar cheese and place the casserole in the pre-heated oven until it is heated and the cheese melted. Since the casserole is going into the oven cold, it may take about 12-15 minutes longer to heat than if the casserole is baked as soon as it is freshly made and the ingredients still somewhat warm from cooking.

Can this casserole be made gluten free?

Yes! Use gluten-free macaroni and gluten-free sausages and, of course, ensure that all other ingredients called for in the recipe are indeed gluten-free.

Hearty Pasta Casserole Made with Macaroni and Sausage
Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

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Macaroni and Sausage Casserole

This Macaroni and Sausage Casserole is flavorful and easy to make. Add a green salad and some rolls, bread, or biscuits for a hearty and satisfying weeknight dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword macaroni, macaroni and sausage casserole, pasta bake, sausage
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 8 oz dry macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 – 284ml (apx 10 oz) can tomato soup
  • 1 cup milk (no less than 2%)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb raw sausage meat, casings removed
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (freshly shredded)

Instructions

  1. Boil water in large pot to have ready for cooking macaroni.
  2. Grease 1½-quart casserole dish or spray with non-stick cooking oil.
  3. Assemble and measure out all ingredients.
  4. Shred the cheddar cheese using the large hole side of a grater. Grate the Parmesan cheese on a microplane or on a fine hole grater.
  5. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. In large measuring cup or bowl, mix the ingredients for the sauce - tomato soup, milk, sour cream, tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings together. Set aside.
  7. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic, stirring it constantly for about 15-20 seconds. Do not let garlic scorch. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet, breaking the meat up well. Reduce heat slightly and cook the sausage meat, stirring frequently until meat is browned and no pink remains. Drain in a wire mesh sieve and discard the liquid.
  8. While the vegetables and meat are being cooked, cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain in sieve or colander.
  9. Place meat mixture and macaroni in large heatproof bowl and stir in the sauce. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  10. Bake casserole, uncovered, for approximately 12-14 minutes, just long enough to reheat the contents and melt the cheese topping. Do not overbake casserole or it will become dry.
  11. Serve with a side salad of choice and biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Recipe Notes

Casserole freezes well.

Yield: Apx. 8 servings

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Pasta Bake
Macaroni and Sausage Casserole
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