Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baked Ziti

This is a great dish when we're having company. Prepare it ahead of time, then put it in the oven just before guest are scheduled to arrive. This way I have time to clean the kitchen before I entertain, and I can focus on visiting instead of cooking.

1 1/2 pounds ground Italian sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. spaghetti sauce (or tomato sauce seasoned to taste)
1 Tbsp basil
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 16 oz package pasta (ziti, penne or rigatoni work best)
16 oz ricotta cheese (I haven't tried it, but I imagine you could substitute cottage cheese. I do this in lasagna)
1 egg
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown sausage with onion and garlic. Do not drain. Add spaghetti sauce, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.

Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Add ricotta and mix well.

In a 9x13 casserole dish layer half the pasta, half the sauce, all the ricotta mixture, half the mozzarella, the rest of the pasta, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the mozzarella. Got it?

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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