Mozzarella Penne

Deliciously simple Mozzarella Penne with Italian Sausage is a super tasty and cheesy recipe everyone will love!

One of the best Italian recipes ever- Mozzarella Penne! It is BEYOND delicious! It’s so creamy with lots of flavor!! Try pairing this yum pasta with Cheesy Garlic Bread and Brussel Sprout Salad.

Mozzarella Penne served in a white bowl with garlic bread

Mozzarella Pasta

Not sure about you, but I can never have enough dinner recipes. Way too often it comes close to dinner time and I still have no clue what I’m making. I’ve mentioned this in the past but I recently started a Monthly Meal Planner and it has been SO nice for our family. Now, I’m wasting fewer groceries and almost always have dinner planned in advance which has been great!

Mozzarella Penne was a recipe my mom found (have I mentioned what an awesome cook my mom is?!) We all love Italian food so she knew it would be a hit. It was. In fact, it’s a new favorite and was devoured quite quickly. If you love pasta dishes with lots of cheese and delicious-ness you will want to give this one a try.

The sausage in this recipe is so delicious! If you don’t like meat, just leave it out – easy peasy. The best part of it all really is the cheese-y goodness! 😉 Whenever we make dishes like this we like to serve it with some garlic bread, fried zucchini and a salad (like this Tortellini Salad!!) Mmmmm!!

pasta in red sauce

Making Penne Pasta

PREP. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

MEAT MIXTURE. In a large skillet heat your oil. Add onion and garlic, stir. Mix in sausage, breaking up well. Add tomato sauce and spices, let simmer.

PASTA. Fill a pot with water and set on high heat. Once boiling, add salt and pasta. Cook el dente.

SAUCE. To make Béchamel; On med-low heat, melt butter in a saucepan. When melted, add your flour and stir until smooth. Whisk continually until mixture is light golden brown, about 5 min. Add your milk a little bit at a time, stirring constantly until its thick. Add a pinch of salt.

LAYER. Using a 9×13 pan, layer a small amount of red sauce from step 1 to the bottom of your pan. The layering process is as follows… Pasta, red sauce, béchamel then mozzarella. Do this a total of 3 times. Sprinkle more mozzarella and parmesan on top, to your liking. For us, the cheesier the better!!

BAKE. Bake at 400 until golden and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Took 20 minutes in my oven. Enjoy warm.

Tips + Storing Info

In simple terms Wondra flour is finely ground all purpose flour that has been precooked and dried. It is often used when making sauces, like béchamel, roux and to thicken gravy or soups. Unlike all purpose flour wondra flour can be added directly to the sauce and it won’t clump. 

  • If you don’t have wondra flour you can make a very close substitute. Simply sift together 2 cups all purpose flour with 1 tsp cornstarch. 

One way that you can easily change this meal up is with the substituting the sausage. You can use mild or spicy sausage depending on what your family prefers. One commenter even used sliced sausage links instead of ground sausage. You can also sub half the sausage for an equal amount of ground beef or even use all ground beef instead. 

Béchamel is just a fancy French word for a basic white sauce. Tips for a good béchamel:

  • Cook until it appears dry or like a wet sand and smells nutty, then add liquid.
  • If the sauce isn’t thickening try pausing the stirring every so often. Sometimes allowing the sauce to thicken up a bit between stirs helps.
  • Too thick? Add a bit more milk
  • Too thin? Add a bit more wondra flour
  • Using whole milk makes a creamier sauce but 2% will work
  • Use warm milk as it mixes in better and don’t forget to add the milk slowly. 

STORE leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also FREEZE it in individual serving sizes for 6-8 weeks. Reheat in a skillet or microwave. Add a bit more milk to help smooth out the sauce.

Make ahead and STORE covered in the fridge for 1-2 days. You can also warp the pan with plastic wrap and again with foil and FREEZE it for 6-8 weeks. Thaw, if applicable, unwrap and bake it in the oven as directed.

Mozzarella penne in a white bowl with garlic bread

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I LOVE me some Italian recipes for dinner!! 😀

For more great Italian dishes be sure to check out these family favorites:

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Mozzarella Penne Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Deliciously simple Mozzarella Penne with Italian Sausage is a super tasty and cheesy recipe everyone will love!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 754 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 cup onion or 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp wondra flour
  • 2 1/4 cup milk
  • mozzarella grated
  • parmesan grated

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet heat your oil. Add onion and garlic, stir. Add sausage, breaking up well. Add tomato sauce and spices, let simmer.
  • Fill a pot with water and set on high heat. Once boiling, add salt and pasta. Cook el dente.
  • To make Béchamel; On med-low heat, melt butter in a saucepan. When melted, add your flour and stir until smooth. Whisk continually until mixture is light golden brown, about 5 min. Add your milk a little bit at a time, stirring constantly until its thick. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Using a 9x13 pan, layer a small amount of red sauce from step 1 to the bottom of your pan. The layering process is as follows... Pasta, red sauce, béchamel then mozzarella. Do this a total of 3 times. Sprinkle more mozzarella and parmesan on top, to your liking. For us, the cheesier the better!!
  • Bake at 400 until golden and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Took 20 minutes in my oven. Enjoy warm.

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Recipe adapted from Love to be in the Kitchen

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

    1. I think regular flour will work as well. We just wanted to give the Wondra flour a try and it was great too. 🙂

    1. To be honest, I’m not sure. I’m not an expert on freezer meals but I would imagine it would be similar to other Pasta dishes. 😉

    1. Mine wouldn’t thicken either. I remembered something I saw on the Chew that chef Michael Simon always says when they make bechamel….the flour and butter should look like wet sand before adding your liquid. 2 tbsps of butter and about 4 tbsps of flour in another pot, browned, and gradually added my milk that wouldn’t thicken and voilà. My 1st bechamel!

      1. The key (for me at least) is to actually not stir constantly. It needs little breaks to thicken up. Not too long though, you don’t want it to curdle, just stop every minute or so for like 10 seconds. It works for me! It’s actually something I learned in a cooking class in high school. I was stirring without stopping for 10 minutes wondering why my sauce wasn’t getting thick. Then I was told, “you need to stop stirring so it has a chance to thicken”. Blew my mind!

      1. Awesome- I just prepped this and it is in the fridge ready to go into the oven tonight! I assume I will have to bake it closer to the 30 minutes since it will be cold from the fridge.

        The only tweaks I made were using half & half instead of milk (not healthy at all, but I can’t resist using it in pasta dishes) and I only used 2 cups. My sauce thickened up just fine, it just took a long time. I also added some fresh basil that I’ve been growing. In the end everything I sampled tasted great and I can’t wait to eat the finished product! Dinner might have to be early tonight!

  1. Made your Mozzarella Penne last night and it turned out so yummy. Thank you for sharing this tasty recipe.????????