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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake

red peppers far
I was looking to mix things up a bit and try out something new. I’ve also been struggling with getting the boys to eat enough veggies at dinner. This baked pasta dish solved both problems. The roasted red peppers aren’t overpowering at all – Bob couldn’t even really place the mystery ingredient. He just knew that it tasted delicious and “spicy” – but not in the burning your mouth kind of way. The kids loved it, too, so that always makes life easier. You can totally play around with the proportions of tomatoes and peppers to make it lean in one direction or the other. You can also increase the heat by using spicy Italian sausage or by adding more red pepper flakes to the sauce. The good thing about this dish is that it’s totally adaptable to your taste buds.
peppers up close

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake


  • 1 lb short pasta (like penne or rigatoni)
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage meat (you could also use spicy or a combination)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped (a 24 oz. jar of Pastene roasted red peppers has 3)
  • 1 - 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red wine (a good one you'd drink)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more if desired)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella


  1. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan with high sides (if you don't have one of these, use a pot) and cook the sausage meat - keep breaking it up with the back of your spoon while it cooks
  2. Once that's cooked, set aside in a bowl
  3. Add another tbsp of olive oil to the pan and saute the onions until they're translucent, 3-5 minutes
  4. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant
  5. Next, toss in the chopped peppers and diced tomatoes and red wine
  6. Season the mixture with the parsley, basil, sugar, salt and peppers
  7. Raise the heat to bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes
  8. Once the mixture is done simmering, transfer it to a blender or food processor (be careful - this will be hot!)
  9. Puree the sauce and return it to the saute pan - taste it to see if it needs any additional salt or pepper
  10. Add in the cream and Parmesan cheese and stir well
  11. Return the sausage to the pan and at this point keep the sauce over low heat while you cook the pasta
  12. Cook the pasta until it's al dente and then strain it and combine it with the sauce and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese
  13. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese
  14. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes (if you're baking this immediately 20 minutes will be enough, if you're making it ahead bake for at least 30)