easy baked mostaccioli with sausage and peppers

this is one of the easiest recipes you will ever find anywhere.. and crazy enough pete "invented" it.. many many many years ago.. probably 15 or more years ago he made this one night and it immediately became a family favorite..  there are several versions you can make but today's is the stripped down, no fuss version, but know you can change it.. you can use a meat sauce instead of a plain sauce.. you could add ricotta {which i like but pete can't stand, some italian he is.. *eyeroll*} or you could add several different kinds of cheeses.. add herbs.. i mean seriously the possibilities are endless, just think of this recipe as a template and you change and/or add to suit your families likes or dislikes.. now your wondering how in the world did pete invent baked mostaccioli. ha ha well he didn't but he did come up with the "trick" that our family uses to make it.. you see we don't cook the pasta first..it goes in dry and uncooked.. pete's mom was a caterer for many years and she would make trays of lasagna all the time and she never once cooked her noodles.. now i know they now have no cook needed lasagna noodles, well she has been doing it for 40 years and just used your average noodle.. nothing special.. she would assemble her lasagna with the uncooked noodles then add water all along the edges until it reached the top of the pan and then bake the lasagna covered for an hour.. the water would cook the pasta.. so one night i wasn't around to make dinner so pete decided to make dinner and he wanted baked mostaccioi and he thought well my mom doesn't need to cook the lasagna noodles why do i have to cook the mostaccioli.. so he didn't cook it but made it just like below and it came out perfect.. and well a recipe was born!!! the first time pete made it he took a box of pasta poured it into the casserole dish.. he took a jar of spaghetti sauce poured it on top.. filled the empty jar of spaghetti sauce with water and poured it over everything.. {didn't even stir} covered it and baked it at 350 for 1 hour.. removed it from the oven uncovered it stirred it around and poured a bag of shredded mozzarella over the top.. stirred it around and baked for another 15-20 minutes!! that's it that's all.. viola..
add your uncooked pasta to the casserole dish

then add 4 cups of spaghetti sauce {not sure why my sauce looks neon but it does it's not radioactive i swear}

add 3.5 cups water... cover and bake 1 hour.. 

uncover  and add 2-3 cups of cheese {or more}

bake another 20 minutes ..

or until cheese is melty and bubbling!!

easy baked mostaccioli

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 1hour 20-30 minutes
servings: 8


1 lb. pasta {mostaccioli preferred but ziti or penne would do}
4 cups prepared spaghetti sauce {homemade preferred but a jarred is just peachy too}
3.5 cups water
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup parmesan


pre heat your oven to 350 degrees {f}.. take a 9 by 13 casserole dish and pour your uncooked pasta in it.. pour sauce over it and then pour your water over everything.. cover and bake for 1 hour.. remove from oven and stir.. add cheese and stir.. put back in the oven uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes.. remove when the cheese is melted and bubbly.. serve immediately.. pete loves it with sausage and peppers.. which again is so simple..

sausage and peppers
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
servings: 6
2 packages of italian sausage, diced  {we like the hot and mild pete doesn't care for the sweet}
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
crushed red pepper
lemon zest
olive oil
salt and pepper
in a heavy bottom skillet heat 2 twirls around the pan of olive oil over medium high heat.. add your peppers and onions.. salt and pepper..cook until tender and onions start to be come translucent.. add your sausage.. cook until sausage is no longer pink.. reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.. before serving sprinkle with lemon zest and crushed red pepper.. nothing could be simpler.. serve with a colorful salad.. any leftover sausage make a sandwich the next day!! :)  
enjoy and get cook'n!!


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