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Baked Ziti with Sausage

The best way to satisfy all of your comfort food cravings: Baked Ziti with Sausage.
Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American, Traditional
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 740kcal
Author Nora

Ingredients

For the pasta:

  • 16 ounces ziti cooked, drained (reserve 1/43 cup cooking water!) and cooled

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage casings removed and crumbled
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large carrot finely diced
  • 1 stick celery finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 26 ounces tomato sauce
  • Salt + pepper to taste

For the cream sauce:

  • 1/2 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt OR sour cream
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • 2-4 tablespoons reserved cooking water from the pasta

For the cheese:

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Instructions

Make the tomato sauce:

  • Brown the sausage: Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crumbled sausage meat and cook until browned.
  • Sauté the vegetables: Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery to the sausage in the skillet. Cook until they're starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Cook the sauce: Stir the tomato paste and Italian seasoning into the sausage mix. Add the tomato sauce and simmer on low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Make the cream sauce:

  • In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients for the cream sauce. Start with 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water and add the extra spoonfuls as needed to make a thick, smooth sauce.

Prep:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread a spoonful of the meat sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish.

Assemble the casserole:

  • Layer 1: Add half of the pasta.
  • Layer 2: Top with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella.
  • Layer 3: Spread all of the cream sauce on top.
  • Layer 4: Top with 1/2 of the meat sauce.
  • Layer 5: Add the remaining half of the pasta.
  • Layer 6: Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella.
  • Layer 7: Top with the remaining meat sauce.
  • Layer 8: Sprinkle with parmesan and the remaining mozzarella.

Bake the casserole:

  • Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheeses are melted and the casserole is bubbly. Serve hot.

Notes

To freeze, follow the recipe until the casserole is fully assembled but not baked. Chill until cold, then cover with one layer of cling film and two layers of aluminium foil, making sure the edges are sealed. Freeze for up to 2 months.
You can reheat from frozen. Remove the foil and cling film, then loosely cover with one layer of foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until bubbly and piping hot all the way to the middle.
You can also divide the casserole between two 7x11 dishes instead of one 9x13 dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 740kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1503mg | Potassium: 969mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 55.4% | Vitamin C: 16.7% | Calcium: 24.7% | Iron: 21.1%