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baked ziti with ricotta and Italian sausage in a casserole dish
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Easy Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Italian Sausage is the ultimate comfort food the whole family will love.  Make ahead or freeze for later; perfect for busy weeknight dinners!
Course Main Entree, Pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked ziti with ricotta, easy baked ziti
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 784kcal
Author Lalaine

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked ziti
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the Meat Sauce

  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 6 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium heat, add Italian sausage and cook, stirring and breaking apart with the back of a spoon, until lightly browned and releases fat. With a slotted spoon, remove meat from pan and set aside. Discard grease except for about 1 tablespoon.
  • Add onions, garlic, sweet peppers, and mushrooms and cook until softened. 
  • Add browned sausage back to the pot.
  • Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced.
  • Add marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. 
  • Add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Lower heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until meat is cooked through. 
  • In a pot over medium heat, heat about 4 quarts water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  • In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. 
  • Add egg and gently stir without over mixing. 
  • Add the pasta and 3/4 of the meat sauce. Gently toss together.
  • In a 9x13 baking or casserole dish, transfer pasta mixture and evenly spread. 
  • Spoon the remaining 1/4 of the meat mixture on top of pasta. 
  • Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top of meat mixture.
  • Bake in a 350 F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and the top is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 784kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 1571mg | Potassium: 1248mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1875IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 322mg | Iron: 4.8mg