Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baked Ziti

This is hands down my family's favorite pasta dish. I usually make a big batch and freeze some for later. You can make it with your favorite homemade marinara sauce or use your favorite jarred sauce. It's a great one to make for company. Serve with caesar salad and garlic bread.

Baked Ziti

1 lb. spicy italian sausage
1 lb. dry ziti pasta
1.5 jars of marinara sauce (about 36 oz.)
6 oz. sliced provolone cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup ricotta (I don't always have ricotta on hand--it tastes just as good without it).
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, brown sausage in a saute pan. Drain if needed, then add marinara sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain pasta it is done cooking.

In a baking dish spread 3/4 cup of meat mixture on bottom of dish. Layer 1/2 of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, sour cream, ricotta and a little less than 1/2 of the remaining meat mixture. Layer the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, meat mixture and parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook another 10 minutes until heated through and cheeses are melted.

To freeze: cover dish with foil and freeze. Once it is frozen you can pop it out of the pan and put in a freezer bag. To heat--thaw first. Allow an additional 20 minutes baking time.

Optional: Omit sausage and add mushrooms and diced/shredded zucchini in its place. Or just add them to sneak in some veggies!

Serves 6-8

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