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Baked Ziti with Sausage

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Baked Ziti with Sausage is a comforting and hearty Italian-American dish that combines ziti pasta with savory sausage, rich tomato sauce, and gooey melted cheese. This recipe is perfect for gatherings or family dinners, offering a satisfying and flavorful meal that everyone will love. Here’s how to make Baked Ziti with Sausage at home, bringing the flavors of Italy to your table.


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ziti pasta (or penne rigate)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or hot), casings removed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil or parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat and Prepare:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

2. Cook the Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ziti pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. Cook the Sausage and Sauce:

  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the Italian sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up into crumbles with a spoon or spatula. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add chopped onion to the skillet with the sausage and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld together.

4. Combine Pasta and Sauce:

  1. Add the cooked ziti pasta to the skillet with the sausage and tomato sauce. Stir gently to combine and coat the pasta evenly with the sauce.
  2. Remove the skillet from heat.

5. Assemble the Baked Ziti:

  1. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Spread it out evenly.
  2. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta layer.
  3. Layer the remaining pasta mixture on top, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

6. Bake:

  1. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges are golden brown.

7. Serve:

  1. Remove the Baked Ziti with Sausage from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  2. Garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley, if desired.
  3. Serve hot and enjoy this delicious and comforting Italian-American dish.

8. Optional Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve Baked Ziti with a side of garlic bread or a fresh green salad.
  • Pair with a glass of red wine such as Chianti or Sangiovese to complement the rich flavors.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Conclusion: Baked Ziti with Sausage is a satisfying and flavorful dish that brings together pasta, sausage, tomato sauce, and cheese in a comforting baked casserole. This recipe allows you to recreate the classic flavors of Italian-American cuisine at home, making it perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends. Enjoy the cheesy goodness and hearty flavors of Baked Ziti with Sausage, and savor every bite of this comforting dish.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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