Caruso Casserole

Caruso Casserole

Caruso Casserole

I cook for an army…every time…even when I’m cooking for two. This recipe was no exception.

So here’s my logic. I never ever want a half bag of pasta in my pantry. It’ll likely be stale and thrown away the next time I clean out my pantry. I generally buy sausage by the pound, I will absolutely positively forget about the two lonely sausages leftover from this recipe. Same goes for the onion. I use them all of the time, but I never think to look for a halfer in the fridge, instead I start a new one from the pantry.

The reason I tell you this is because it is great to know what recipes you have to be a stickler with and which ones give you wiggle room. This gives you wiggle room. Lots of it! I used every bit of sausage in the pound, pasta in the package and the whole entire onion. Because I was adding so much I doubled the sauce and veggies and made a deliciously oversized dish. Perfect for putting 1/2 of it in the freezer for a rainy day reheat.

The recipe below is the original. Feel free to tweak it like I did!

Caruso Casserole

Caruso Casserole

1/2 lb Italian sausage (hot or mild, your pick)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper

1 cup milk

1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

2 cups cooked drained noodles

1/2 cup halved zucchini slices

1/2 cup tomatoes, fresh chopped or diced canned

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook sausage, onion and garlic in skillet until sausage is brown and crumbly. Drain then set aside.

In a large saute pan melt butter then stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium low heat, until it bubbles. Remove from heat and whisk in milk and seasonings. Return to stove and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir in half of the cheese. (At this point I’d taste the sauce to see if it needs to be doctored at all…a little extra seasoning is a lot easier to incorporate now than later.) Stir in cooked sausage mixture, noodles, zucchini and tomatoes.  Turn into buttered 1-quart casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly. (approximately 25-30 minutes)

Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Return to oven to melt cheese.

Serve warm.

Caruso Casserole

I pre-browned the sausage because I knew I’d be rushing to get the recipe ready in time for dinner the next day so you can do it my way, or as described below which would mean onions, garlic and sausage all start at the same time.

Caruso Casserole

Butter and flour are bubbling and ready for milk.

Caruso Casserole

Sauce is creamy, cheesy and seasoned…ready for the rest.

Caruso Casserole

Here they are!

Caruso Casserole

Add the noodles with a gentle stir.

Caruso Casserole

Place them in the buttered pan, then into the oven.

Caruso Casserole

Add cheese once it’s bubbly then heat until melted.

Anyone else have the whole cooking for an army problem like me?

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