This is a super easy dish and I’m always surprised when people ask me for the recipe…because it is so easy… I’m including this recipe because it always is a great buffet dish. It’s relatively inexpensive to make and can be made ahead…
Another consideration is that it’s also very easy to eat …if your guests have to balance a plate on their lap instead of a sit-down dinner…. Lasagna is a great dish too… but it is more time consuming to make… and a little more difficult to serve… cutting lasagna into pieces isn’t as easy as guests spooning out ziti to their plates.
This recipe uses hot and sweet (mild) Italian sausage… you could also go meatless… or cut-up cooked meatballs for the meat… or you could divide the amount you need to make between all three… making smaller dishes of each.
I use 2 links of each type of sausage… you can use more… it just depends on how meaty you want it to be…
I always set the cooked sausage on paper towels to drain off all grease, it makes for a less greasy dish.
If using commercial tomato sauce you will need a jar about 2 lbs 13 oz or if you are making your own… roughly the equivalent to that amount.
After boiling and draining the ziti… I let the pot cool a bit and use that to mix the ziti with the sausage and tomato sauce… it’s the perfect size and one less bowl to clean.
Even the pickiest eaters like Baked Ziti….. so it fits the bill to win a spot at your buffet table.
Baked Ziti Recipe
All you need:
1 box ziti, cooked according to package directions
2 links hot Italian sausage, cooked and sliced
2 links mild Italian sausage, cooked and sliced
1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Tomato Sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray (olive oil is preferred)
All you need to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil.
In a medium bowl beat an egg. Add ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, garlic powder, salt, mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Reserve about 1 cup of the tomato sauce.
Return drain ziti to cooled pot and add the sausage and tomato sauce, mix thoroughly.
Spoon half the ziti and sausage mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the ziti.
Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella cheese over the ricotta cheese.
Spoon the remainder of the ziti over the mozzarella cheese.
Drizzle the reserved cup of tomato sauce over the top of the ziti.
Sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole.
Lightly…very lightly spray cooking spray on the mozzarella cheese… this will aid in smoothly melting the cheese.
Bake uncovered for approximately 35 minutes until it is heated through and cheese has melted.
If cheese or ziti start to get too dark.. cover loosely with foil. Spray the bottom side of the foil with a little cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.
TIP: Reynolds Wrap has a new foil out called “Release”… it’s a non-stick foil that is excellent… nothing sticks to it.. it’s perfect for things like this.
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