I’m so happy to be partnering with Johnsonville sausage today and sharing one of our favorite family recipes, baked ziti. Johnsonville wanted us bloggers to revamp our favorite Italian recipes by substituting ground Italian sausage for ground beef. And while this isn’t exactly an Italian recipe, since it’s an Italian American dish, I think it counts.
Baked ziti os one of those classic comfort foods that we all love. The baked pasta, hearty sauce and cheesy goodness is just so amazing. It’s the perfect dish to make anytime, whether it’s a busy weeknight, or to entertain with family and friends.
For this baked ziti, I start with Ground Italian sausage from Johnsonville. Using sausage instead of ground beef adds so much flavor. Then I add finely chopped onion, bell peppers and carrots. All these veggies really help to add nutrition to this dish, and great flavor.
After the meat has browned, and the vegetables are cooked through, I add a jar of my favorite spaghetti sauce and about a cup of red wine. The after it heats through, I mix the cooked pasta, sauce and a good bit of ricotta together. I then pour that into my casserole dish, add some more sauce on top and then lots of shredded mozzerella, more ricotta in dollops and Parmasen cheese.
Then I just bake the ziti until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. To serve, I just make a simple Caesar salad and dinner is done!
Yield: Serves 4
1 lb Johnsonville ground Italian sausage
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 cups red wine
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 12 oz package ziti or penne pasta
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheeses
Heat oven to 350°. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add ground sausage, onion, bell pepper, carrots and garlic to skillet. Cook over medium heat until sausage is browned and vegetables are cooked through. Add pasta sauce and red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Cook pasta according to package directions just shy of al dente. Drain pasta and add to a large bowl. Add half of pasta sauce and all of ricotta cheese. Mix well and pour into 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with the rest of the pasta sauce and the shredded cheese.
Bake at 350° for 10 - 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and pasta is bubbly. Serve with salad and enjoy!