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Easy Baked Ziti with Sausage is the perfect dinner for a weeknight meal! It is hearty, cheesy and comes together in a snap. A real crowd pleaser for sure!
Casseroles are always a great meal to add to your weekly meal plan. They tend to come together quickly. They are hearty and they make enough to feed a small army. If you’ve got growing kiddos, or want to have a meal with enough leftovers to get you a few meals one week, this Easy Baked Ziti with Sausage is for you!
GROUND ITALIAN SAUSAGE: I use mild because I’m feeding kiddos. But if you want to kick things up just a little bit hot Italian sausage would be great!
ZITI PASTA: Ziti pasta is a short tube pasta.
MARINARA SAUCE: This is one of my favorite dinners to just throw together so a jar of marinara is what I reach for. But if you’ve got time, you can totally make your own!
RICOTTA CHEESE: If you don’t know ricotta is a whey cheese. Whey is what is left after cheesemakers separate the curds out to make cheese. They repurpose the leftover and turn it into creamy, fluffy ricotta cheese. Bon Appetit does a great job explaining a little bit more about it.
MOZZARELLA: Buy a block and shred it yourself. Trust me, it tastes better than the pre-shredded stuff and will melt better too. And let’s be honest, this casserole is alllll about that melty cheese!
PARMESAN CHEESE: A little sprinkle over the top for just a little bit more cheese. Use the fresh stuff here too! Trust me, it’s better!
FRESH BASIL: The perfect fresh herb to finish off the dish.
DES’ TIP:The easiest way to chop basil is to roll the leaves together and then chop. This leaves you with little ribbons, perfect for garnishing.
STEP #1: Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions for “al dente”. That means that it’ll be slightly undercooked. This is what you want because the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce.
STEP #2: Brown Italian sausage in a large skillet. Drain the excess fat and return the sausage to the pan.
STEP #3: Add in marinara sauce and ziti pasta. Mix well.
DES’ TIP: For ease, I like to do this all in one pan. If you don’t have a pan large enough, you can assemble the casserole in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
STEP #4: Spoon dollops of ricotta on top.
STEP #5: Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven until warmed through, about 30 minutes.
STEP #6: Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle parmesan over the top. Place under the broiler for 2 – 3 minutes or until the top browns. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn! Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil. Serve.
Yes! Make this until step 5 and then refrigerate. I would remove it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you want to cook it, to give it a chance to come to room temperature. And while it may need to cook a little longer, allowing it to warm up will help it cook a little faster.
Absolutely! Simply leave out the Italian sausage and make everything else the same. It will be just as delicious!
If you love this Baked Ziti with Sausage Recipe, check out some of my other favorite pasta dishes:
Looking for more easy dinner recipes? Here are some of our favorites!
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