Our picky ones often have a hard time with casseroles so I must admit that I was a little nervous about making this the first time. I decided to change the name to "Upside Down Pizza" because I knew that our kids love pizza. To my great delight, after just a few bites this dish was given a thumbs up by all. And even the leftovers that I reheated in the oven two days later were gobbled up and very much enjoyed.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. uncooked Italian Sausage links, sliced
1 Medium onion, chopped fine
1 bell pepper (any color), diced finely
2 medium zucchini, chopped rough
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Cups diced tomatoes, drained or 2 cans (14.5-oz. each) diced tomatoes, drained
16 oz. tomato sauce
a bunch of chopped fresh basil *(see note below) or 1/2 tsp. dried basil
some fresh chopped fresh oregano *(see note below) or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
some fresh chopped thyme *(see note below) or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 recipe homemade breadstick dough
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the sausage links and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is almost fully cooked. Add the onion and diced pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the chopped zucchini and minced garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the drained tomatoes (fresh or canned), tomato sauce,basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the liquid is somewhat reduced. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and stir into the mixture. Spoon half of the sauce mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the top. Spoon the other half of the sauce over the top of the cheese and sprinkle another 1/2 cup mozzarella over the top. Arrange breadstick dough in a lattice pattern over the sauce, trimming to fit, if necessary. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top of breadstick dough. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the breadsticks are golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
*Note: I don't measure the fresh herbs. Just pick some, chop them up and throw them in to taste.
Recipe Source: adapted from melskitchencafe.com to use fresh tomatoes and herbs