A Hearty Winter Dinner: Baked Ziti

baked-ziti1

Lately, I have been craving pasta, and lots of it; the cold weather is making me want to stuff my face with carbs and hibernate for the winter!  I have been switching back and forth between two recipes: spaghetti with pasta sauce, and fusilli with pesto and olives.  After about 2 weeks of this, I got bored, so I went looking for more flavorful pasta dinners.  When I found this baked ziti recipe, I knew it was a winner!

This recipe from Italian Recipe4Living is described as follows: “A classic Italian pasta dish with bubbly cheese, spicy Italian sausage and lots of garlic.”

Ok, cheese? Check.
Sausage? Check.
Garlic? Check.

Basically, this is my dream meal.  It’s not the healthiest of dinners, but I give myself a little bit more leeway when it’s cold outside!  Here’s the recipe!

View the full recipe here!

Ingredients

* Salt and pepper
* 1 lb. Italian sausage, preferably bulk or ground meat of any type, or a combination
* 1 large onion, diced
* 1 Tbs. minced garlic, optional
* 1 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
* 1 lb. ziti or other large cut pasta
* 1 lb. mozzarella, grated or chopped
* Olive oil or butter as needed
* 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Directions

Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Distribute meat in large skillet over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and garlic, if using. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer while cooking pasta, stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste; do not let sauce become too thick.

Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) and toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan if using. Bake until top is browned and cheese is bubbly, 20-30 minutes.

View the full recipe here!

If you’re looking for even more tasty Italian dishes, including pastas, pizzas, desserts, appetizers, and even drinks, visit Italian Recipe4Living!

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  • Tina Steichen

    Sounds really good ,plan to make it for our New Years company. Sounds good and easy.
    Thanks,Happy New 2011

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