Baked Ziti and Sausage

Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoons Basil or Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

1 yellow onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 28-oz. canned peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

1 1/2 lbs. ziti pasta

1 lb. ground Italian sausage, hot or mild, cooked through and drained

1 cup fresh ricotta

2 tablespoons Unflavored, Basil or Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

1 lb. grated mozzarella, divided

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat a small Dutch oven with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic.  Season with salt and cook stirring occasionally until the onions soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, breaking them up with your hand or a spoon.  Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 45 minutes allowing the sauce to slightly reduce.  Set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9x9 inch baking dish.  Cook the ziti for half the time noted on the package.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl; add the tomato sauce.  In another bowl, combine the sausage, ricotta, olive oil, basil and parsley.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.

 

Pour half of the ziti mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Dollop with the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 3/4 of the mozzarella and parmesan, and top with the remaining ziti mixture.  Evenly distribute the remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling and heated through.  Change oven to broil and cook for 5 additional minutes until the cheese is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, basil, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

 

Serves 6

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