This was adapted from a recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. This is very similar to many other recipes, the differences being in the assembly. Also, ingredients and ratios can vary between versions. This is an excellent candidate for making ahead and just heating up right before dinner. Leftovers are great too! I did not have ziti, but only rotini. Any short round pasta will do. Lastly, this was last night’s dinner, I forgot to post it before falling asleep.
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
- 1 pound Italian Sausage
- 1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes, With Juice
- 1 can Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces, weight Ziti, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
- 8 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
- 1 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 whole Egg
- Fresh Minced Parsley
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes until starting to soften.
- Add Italian sausage and cook until browned.
- Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
- Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
- Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- After that time, remove 2 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In another bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper.
- Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
- Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
- Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to combine.
- Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
- Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
- Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.