1 pound ziti (can substitute penne) pasta
1 pound Italian sweet sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or basil), minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces) (divided)
1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated (divided)
1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil.
Add about a tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water.
Add the pasta and boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm.
Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.
Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a large sauté pan on medium-high to heat.
When the oil is hot, add the sausage.
Do not crowd the pan (work in batches if needed).
Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks and brown well.
Don't stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown.
When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.
Next, add the tomato sauce, stir well. and bring pot to a simmer.
In a large bowl mix the drained pasta, ricotta cheese, ¾ of sausage mixture and 2/3 mozzarella cheese.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the pan.
Pour the remaining sauce and sausage over the entire pan.
Sprinkle remaining grated mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan or pecorino cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven until the top is nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
Pairs Well With
Classic comfort food that’s easy for kids to help fix. After all, what kid doesn’t like to help sprinkle cheese? Not to mention, my daughter asked for this every time she came home from college.