After having pizza last night, I was reminded of Mo's pizza casserole that I was drooling over not too long ago. I had a bag of Trader Joe's brown rice pasta that I wanted to try. I've never had brown rice pasta before and decided to give it a chance because it's a much healthier alternative to white flour pasta. So there you go.
(And it's only $1.99 a bag!)
And on to the casserole.....
It has a lovely marinara sauce and Tofurky tomato & basil vegan sausage, black olives, capers, onions, garlic, spinach, mushrooms and soy cheese: ingredients that would naturally go on a pizza!
It was a little early for lunch so I only had a tiny tiny portion to taste. I sprinkled a little vegan "parmesan" on top. It was YUMMY!
And now for the recipe...
Sausage Pizza Casserole
1/2 lb. brown rice pasta
4 TB olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14oz. can tomatoes
2 TB capers
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
6 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
2 Tofurky Italian sausages, sliced
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup whole pitted black olives
1/2 cup shredded soy cheese
(You can find Tofurky sausage at Trader Joe's too.)
1. Make marinara sauce: Heat 2 TB oil in a small saucepan. Add half of the chopped cloves of garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, capers, italian seasoning, sugar and some salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Make sausage/veggies: Heat 2 TB oil in another pan, add the other half of chopped garlic, the onion and saute until the onions are soft. Add the mushrooms, spinach and saute for a few minutes until the mushrooms get soft. Then add the sausage, fennel seed, sage, red pepper flakes and saute until the sausage gets browned. You may season with salt and pepper. Add the olives and cook for a few minutes. Add the marinara sauce and stir everything together. Let simmer while you prepare pasta.
3. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and combine pasta with the marinara/sausage/veggies sauce. Add soy cheese if you like and stir into the pasta. You can actually serve it right away or you can pour it all into an oiled casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. This will melt the soy cheese just a little bit.
A note on the brown rice pasta: I liked it. I don't think it is much different from regular pasta. It cooks well and is nice soft and a little chewy. It worked very well for this recipe and I can see myself using this kind from now on.