Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bit of Flavor Baked Ziti with Sausage


Bit of Flavor Baked Ziti
Ingredient List is at the end...

Mmmmmm...  I just LOVE Baked Ziti!
I normally make a meatless version, but I happened to have some Sweet Italian Sausage that I wanted to use up, so I went with this hearty version.
Step One - Prepare the pasta.
I boiled an entire 1 pound box of ziti pasta.  You can also use penne pasta, if that's what you have on hand.  The main idea is that you want a short and sturdy noodle that will be perfect for collecting and holding the cheesy sauce.
Follow directions on box, and finish to al dente.

Step Two - Prepare the sauce.
This step involves several smaller steps...
While your pasta is boiling, chop up some onion.  I used about 1/2 of a large white onion, and chopped it fairly fine.

Brown 1/2 - 1 pound of Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage.

A quick little side trip to share my latest favorite kitchen item:
Check your pasta - I bet it's ready!
Drain it, and set is aside.

And now I bet your sausage is ready!

Add the chopped onion, and quickly brown it.

Season it up!
I added salt and pepper, some freshly ground garlic & herb mix, and some Italian seasonings.  Stir well.

Pour on the sauce!
Use a jar or can of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce, or go with your own homemade sauce if you prefer.
In general, I use Hunts sauces.  My family likes them and they are low-cost.
I went with the Traditional version tonight; we also like the Four Cheese and the Garlic & Onion flavors.
Before you continue, take a couple of scoops of sauce and spread on the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.

Here is one of my favorite parts - It's time to add the cheese!!
Plop in one container of ricotta cheese, one cup of shredded mozzarella, and one cup of grated parmesan.

Stir well to combine.
Mmmm...  That sure looks good!

Step Three - Put it all Together!
Pour your drained pasted over the sauce in your prepared dish.
Add your meaty cheesy sauce.
Stir gently through, to combine.
Pat down just a bit to form an even top layer.

Put the dish into a 350 degree oven.
Bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, check to be sure that your Baked Ziti has a nice slightly browned top.
Grab your biggest scoop and enjoy!

Serve with a tossed salad and some garlic bread.
(Yes, we splurged and had Texas Toast with ours!)
1 lb box of Ziti or Penne Pasta
1 White Onion
1/2-1 lb Italian Sweet or Mild Sausage
Salt & Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasonings
1 jar or can of Spaghetti Sauce
1 16oz container Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
Remember ~ Life tastes better with a bit of flavor!

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