Monday, March 2, 2009

Baked Ziti

There are a lot of variations on this great Italian comfort food and here's one I made recently. It's easy to make, inexpensive, delicious and reheats well. Pair this ziti up with some garlic bread and a salad and you've got a meal that's sure to please. Try different variations with ricotta, pancetta, prosciutto, meatballs and vegetarian to keep it new and interesting.
I used crumbled sweet Italian sausage but you could just as easily used sliced sausage.
Oh and check out how this Italian lady makes her Baked Ziti.

What you will need.
1 Lb sweet Italian sausage
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Lb ziti
about 5 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
16 oz mozzarella cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the sausage, onion, green bell pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic until the sausage is done. Drain the fat and set aside.
Cook the ziti according to package directions, drain and place back in the cooking pot Don't rinse your pasta or PrincessDiana161 will be really upset. Add the Italian sausage mixture, pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan and stir to combine. Spread a little of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole the pour in the ziti mixture. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes in a 350F oven. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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