Baked Ziti with Sausage

Many years ago I picked up a magazine in the checkout line of the grocery store that has served as the inspiration for many good recipes over the last decade.  The magazine was geared towards “lighter fare” so I’ve tended to add back the fat to many of the original recipes, adding my own spin and more flavor.  This baked ziti is a perfect example of that and has become my favorite pasta recipe and is perfect to serve a big group – even 10 or 12 people.  It’s a delicious blend of tender pasta, spicy italian sausage, a simple homemade tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella, all baked together and topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.  

baked ziti with sausage 1

 

This dish is ideal to serve at night when the temperature starts to dip and you’re looking for something to warm you up, or for a Sunday football game with friends, or to deliver to a friend in need of a meal.  It’s easy to prepare in advance and bake right before serving, and the leftovers are just as good reheated the next day.

baked ziti with sausage 2

 

Baked Ziti with Sausage
Serves 10
This baked pasta dish with tomatoes, sausage and cheese is perfect to serve a crowd and can be prepared in advanced, then baked just before serving.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound pasta in corkscrew shape
  2. 1 pound mild italian sausage
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
  6. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  7. 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  8. 1/4 fresh basil leaves
  9. 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  10. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a large pot of water, season with water and add the pasta, cooking to the package instructions. Remove from the stove, drain, rinse and return to the large pot. Set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the sausage, breaking into small pieces.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the sausage, and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes and paste to the sausage, stirring to combine.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cover, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring 1-2 times.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove the cover from the sauce and combine with the pasta in the original large pot, stirring carefully.
  8. Prepare a large glass 9x11 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.
  9. Add half the pasta to the pan, then top with the mozzarella cheese, then top with the remaining pasta.
  10. Bake the pasta for 30 minutes until heated through.
  11. Rough chop the basil. Serve the pasta in a large bowl, and top with chopped basil leaves and parmesan cheese.
Notes
  1. This delicious dish is easy to prepare gluten free by substituting gluten free pasta and ensuring the sausage you use is labeled as gluten free.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

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