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Baked Ziti with Sausage

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage is the perfect weeknight meal. With layers of Italian meat sauce, noodles and creamy cheese, you can have a stress-free meal the whole family will love.

Baked Ziti in casserole dish

We are big pasta people…like huge. Some kind of pasta dish hits our dinner rotation at least once a week. We love this recipe because it uses up leftover spaghetti sauce and makes enough to freeze, too!

Why You Should Make this Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage:

  • Easy to make - Italian heritage not required!
  • Easily Vegetarian - Just leave out the meat!
  • Easy to freeze - make, bake and freeze in smaller portions for nights when you forget dinner is a thing!
  • Inexpensive to Make!
  • Feeds a crowd!
  • Make ahead of time - Assemble the casserole, then cover with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. *Make sure you bring the dish to room temp (sit out about 30 minutes) to avoid a shattered casserole dish.

What is baked ziti?

Baked ziti is just a layered “casserole” of noodles, cheese mixture and meat sauce. It’s kind of like a lasagna but with different noodles and without the fuss of spreading the cheese on the slippery buggers!

How to Make Baked Ziti:

  1. If you don’t have any leftover spaghetti sauce, don’t fret! Whip up a quick sauce by browning the Italian sausage and onion, then simmering with a jar of marinara.
  2. As the sauce simmers, mix cottage cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella, egg and garlic in a bowl.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
  4. Then, layer the noodles, cheese mixture, sauce and the remaining cheese in a 9x13 casserole dish.
  5. Since the ingredients are “cooked” already, baking really marries the delicious flavors together!
Yield: 8

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

Baked Ziti in casserole dish

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage is the perfect weeknight meal. With layers of Italian meat sauce, noodles and creamy cheese, you can have a stress-free meal on the table your whole family will love.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage*
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 24 ounces jar of marinara sauce , or 3 cups of leftover spaghetti sauce*
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 cups Ziti*, dried, uncooked
  • 12 ounces cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and set aside.

Prepare Sausage & Pasta Sauce

  1. Brown the sausage over medium high heat in a large dutch oven, heavy-bottomed pot or large sauté pan.
  2. When sausage is barely pink and almost cooked through, add diced onion and sauté until onion softens, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cloves of garlic and stir quickly to avoid burning.
  4. Drain excess fat from the sausage mixture, if necessary.
  5. To the same pot, add the pasta sauce (either jarred or leftover sauce), and simmer for about 5 minutes until warm on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally.
  6. While sauce is warming, prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Make Cheese "Filling"

  1. In a small bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg, oregano, remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Stir until well-combined.

Layer Casserole & Bake

  1. To the greased 9x13 inch casserole dish, add about ¼ cup of sauce to the bottom to avoid burning the noodles.
  2. Layer as follows: half of the ziti noodles, all of the cottage cheese mixture, half of the sauce, remaining ziti, remaining sauce and top with cheese.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese turns golden on top.

Notes

* Alternatives to mild Italian Sausage: hot Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, ground beef, other meat alternative. (note: this recipe has not been tested with meat alternatives.)

* Alternatives to ziti noodles: bow ties, penne, rotini, rigatoni, any short sturdy noodle.

 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1395mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 21g

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Marie Munday

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

This was delicious! I already had cooked sausages, so I diced them and followed the rest of the recipe exactly (which I rarely do). Originally there was a typo and an unclear ingredient quantity, so I wrote to Anna Kate. She responded immediately and made the changes. This is my new go-to recipe for baked pasta!

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