Brandi is natural born food lover of anything from gourmet cheeses and wine down to plain baked breads. When not in the kitchen cooking, she loves to be outdoors, especially near the ocean. She puts her focus mainly on healthy organic ea...
Ziti pasta is mixed with ricotta cheese, herbs and a sweet Italian sausage tomato sauce to create the ultimate dinner. Add this to your weekly dinner rotation because it will be your family's new favorite.
This hearty and filling pasta dinner will please fans of all ages. Not only is it a super easy dish, it's a great meal option for feeding a family or as the main dish while entertaining at a dinner party. Serve this baked ziti along with a big green salad, garlic bread and a good bottle of wine.
Baked ziti with sweet Italian sausage recipe
1 large onion, cut in small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, removed from its casing and crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine
4 cups of your favorite brand of pasta sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram or oregano (from about 6 large sprigs)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated mild pecorino cheese
Pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound dried ziti
1/2 pound mozzarella, preferably fresh, grated
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and lightly oil a large baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and saute for about five minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and the sausage to the pan, cooking until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the fat (if any) from the sausage.
Add the red wine to the sausage mixture and let it boil until it has reduced quite a bit. Add the pasta sauce and allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Just before the sauce is done add in the marjoram or oregano.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, about half of the grated pecorino, the nutmeg and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the ziti pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta well and toss it with the ricotta mixture until well coated. Add the tomato sauce and gently mix very well.
Pour the ziti mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining pecorino on top. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Serve.