Italian Sausage and Vegetable Casserole

This recipe for Italian Sausage and Vegetable Casserole is a wonderful way to use some of summer's bounty.... delicious and low carb too!
This is a wonderful alternative to traditional lasagna... believe me you won't miss the pasta.
I cut my summer squash and zucchini about a 1/4 inch thick... the summer squash baked perfectly.. not mushy not hard.... some of the pieces of zucchini were a bit firmer ... if you only like your vegetables very soft... you can do one of two things.. either cut the zucchini a bit thinner... or up the cooking time... keep in mind if you up the cooking time.. the summer squash will be softer.
I added thickly sliced mushrooms because we like them.. you can omit them if they aren't your thing.
I used bulk hot Italian sausage.. the flavor was wonderful.. if you prefer you can substitute sweet or mild Italian sausage.
This won't come out of the baking pan in cut pieces like lasagna.. it's more like a casserole.
I used Hunt's canned diced tomatoes... the garlic and onion variety.. their basil oregano and garlic would also work well.
To save time and make it mix easier.. I put the cut-up onion and garlic cloves into a mini processor and chopped them together.
When making the ricotta mixture.. you can use egg substitute instead of an egg.
I use shredded Parmesan not grated .. you can substitute grated if that's all you have.. but shredded gives it a better texture.
I use, what I call "pizza cut mozzarella"... it's shredded mozzarella but with bigger "shreds"... like they use in pizzerias... I find it in large bags in Walmart.
The amount of shredded mozzarella varies.. depending on the surface size of your baking dish.. you want a generous amount of cheese covering the top.
I use part skim ricotta.. you can use whole milk ricotta if you prefer.
I recommend a deep baking dish.. this way you don't have to worry about it cooking over into your oven.

Update:   we had the leftovers last night.. Just a word about the leftovers.. we had scooped them up and into a tupper... so it looked like a mess when I went to reheat them last night.. I just spread them in a baking dish (that did not look pretty, for sure) ... and heated it in the micro until warm.. then I spread a thick layer of shredded mozzarella on top and into a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese melted... just as good as the first night and ended up looking as good as the first time.
Serve this with a side salad and some garlic bread.. just yummy!

Recipe:  Italian Sausage and Vegetable Casserole
All you need:
1 pound bulk Italian hot sausage
1 med-large onion, diced *See Tips
2 garlic cloves, minced *See Tips
1 pkg. (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 can Hunt's diced tomatoes, onion and garlic variety *See Tips
1/2 small can tomato paste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (for the sauce)
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (for the ricotta mixture)
1-2 medium size zucchini, thickly sliced *See Tips
1-2 med size summer squash, thickly sliced *See Tips
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
About 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
All you have to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks... when it is almost completely cooked.. add the garlic and onions and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
Add the canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning and tomato paste.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until it begins to thicken.  If you like really thick sauce.. add a bit more tomato paste... stir well.  Take it off the heat and set it aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian Seasoning and parsley.
Put a thin layer of sausage and sauce on the bottom of your baking dish.  Put a layer of sliced zucchini and summer squash over the sauce (I alternate slices in a random pattern).
Spread half the ricotta over the slices.  Top with ricotta with some sauce.. then add another layer of slices... then the other half of the ricotta... Top with the rest of the sauce.  Spread the shredded mozzarella over the top. 
If your baking dish is filled to almost the top.. place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.
Bake for 40 minutes.  allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Sweet Sue said...

Hi Linda, got all ingred for this, amazing:) Wondering what size canned tomatoes is called for? Thx much!

Linda said...

Hi Sue!

I call the can size "regular" I keep stock of them in my pantry in a variety of "flavors" because I use them so much... so I checked the can size.. they are 14.5 oz. I find them in the canned tomato section at the grocery store... they usually stock them by the tomato paste.

Delmonte and Hunt's cans are the same size.

There is a brand that has a slightly larger size... I can't remember the brand... if I recall correctly they may be 15 oz. ... you can us that one too... a little more won't hurt the recipe... just add more tomato paste to compensate...

Ingredient amounts in this recipe.. as in a lot of my recipes.. can be tweeked to what you have on hand...

I hope you enjoy this recipe..

FYI... I added a note under TIPS about our leftovers...

Thanks for stopping by!

Sweet Sue said...

Thx much Linda, just wanted to be sure, have several that size in pantry. Looking forward to this dish. Have a great week:)

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