Monday, April 23, 2012

baked ziti

so my cousin marissa and her husband nate just welcomed home their second baby, halleck!!! they already have one adorable child, eli who has been growing up sooo fast!  i took this opportunity to make some baked ziti and bring it over to them!  i learned my lesson before, when i made spencer his chipotle mac and cheese that if i'm making something for someone else, i better make a batch for myself. 

baked ziti
  • 12 oz rigatoni pasta - i used penne
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb of spicy italian sausage - you could also just use 3 sausage links without the casing
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara*
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese, grated 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
*i used store-bought marinara, added, garlic, garlic powder, basil, parsely, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and heated it before pouring into the pasta

1. preheat oven to 350°
2. fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  add a small handful of salt and the pasta to the water and stir.  boil pasta for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is al dente. 
3. pour 1 tbs of olive oil into a large saute pan and place over medium-high heat.  add sausage and break apart with a spoon.  cook sausage for about 5 minutes or until even browned.  drain and add to pasta.
4. discard grease and add remaining oil to pan.  add onion and garlic to pan and satute for 3-4 minutes.  season with salt and pepper.  pour onion mixture over sausage and pasta mixture and toss together. 
5. add marinara, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and gently fold together until fully incorporated.
6. pour mixture into a lightly greased 8" X 8" baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan
7. bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese bubbles and browns
8. allow ziti to cool for 5-7 minutes before serving
 this is one of the best ziti recipes i've ever had!!! just delicious!  i totally recommend this to anyone who loves ziti, red sauce, or just pasta in general!

when i dropped this off to my cousin and her family, i got to see the new baby!  halleck is too cute and adorable!  and eli was being such a silly!  i hope they enjoyed this as much as i enjoyed making it for them!  :]

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