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.
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:
- 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 and canned tomatoes.
- As the sauce simmers, mix cottage cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella, egg and garlic in a bowl.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
- Then, layer the noodles, cheese mixture, sauce and the remaining cheese in a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Since the ingredients are “cooked” already, baking really marries the delicious flavors together!
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage*
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1, 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce or 3 cups of leftover spaghetti sauce*
- 1, 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 ounces uncooked
- 12 ounces cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 egg
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Brown sausage, then add diced onion. Drain any fat.
- Add tomatoes and pasta sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.
- Cook noodles according to directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg, oregano, garlic and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Stir until well-combined.
- To a 9x13 inch casserole dish, add about 1 cup of sauce to the bottom to avoid burning the noodles.
- 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.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese turns golden on top.
* Use hot sausage or sweet Italian sausage in place of mild Italian sausage for more of a kick.
* If you are using leftover spaghetti sauce, skip steps 2 and 3, and warm up the sauce in a sauce pan until warm.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 365 Total Fat 23g Saturated Fat 9g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 73mg Sodium 1395mg Carbohydrates 18g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 4g Sugar 11g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 21g