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Easy Baked Ziti is super easy to make and loaded with creamy Bolognese sauce and cheese.

Easy Baked Ziti

Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Comfort Food
Difficulty: Easy
Number of Ingredients: 9
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 627.38kcal
Author: Marilyn Haugen : MavenCookery.com
This easy baked ziti is pure comfort food. The combination of ziti, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, herbs and spices converges for a family friendly dish.
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Equipment

  • Large (12-in) oven-safe skillet with cover.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage *
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz ziti (about 3-3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 20 sprigs basil, minced (about 1/3 bunch of basil or 1/4 cup minced) *
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 475°F with oven rack in the middle position.
  • In an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller bits, 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain excess fat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in salt, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, water, and ziti.
  • Cover and simmer vigorously, stirring often, 9 to 10 minutes or until ziti is al dente. While pasta is simmering, mince basil leaves.
  • Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil. Season with pepper.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella over the top. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use a potato masher to break up the sausage into smaller bits while cooking.
  • If your skillet is not oven safe, before starting step 5 transfer the pasta to a shallow casserole dish. Then finish the remainder of the steps.
Ingredient Tips:
*You can substitute 2 tbsp minced garlic for the fresh garlic cloves
*Ground Italian sausage comes in regular, mild, hot, and sweet variations. I used regular in this recipe because it is what my butcher has, but feel free to use whatever variety you prefer.
*You can use Italian sausage links and remove the casings.
*You can substitute 2 tbsp dried basil for the fresh minced basil.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 627.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.55g | Protein: 24.77g | Fat: 25.97g | Saturated Fat: 13.46g | Cholesterol: 73.88mg | Sodium: 531.06mg | Potassium: 567.98mg | Fiber: 4.77g | Sugar: 7.28g | Vitamin A: 1098.2IU | Vitamin C: 11.22mg | Calcium: 369.47mg | Iron: 2.81mg