Friday, June 7, 2013

Baked Ziti (Good for a Crowd, or a Freezer Meal)

by Sheila

I had book club at my house recently and had an extremely busy week leading up to it.  I won't bore you with all the details, but I had commitments (including company and travel) all day and every evening for the week leading up to book club.  I needed to prepare a meal for eight that would not require much hands-on time during our meeting.   I admit to taking the easy out and making this do-ahead recipe for our group for dinner.  It fits in with my food philosophy of being easy, foolproof, tasty and the added advantage of being able to be made ahead and/or prepared as a freezer meal.

Baked Ziti ready to go in the oven or freeze for later

Baked Ziti

(Adapted from a Cooking Light Recipe November 2003)

Yield:  8 servings (serving size 1 ½ cups)


1 (1-pound) package uncooked ziti

1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste

¼ t salt

¼ t black pepper

2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes (undrained)

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1T dried Italian Seasoning

Cooking spray

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups sour cream

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.      Cook pasta according to package directions.  Set aside.

3.      Remove casings from sausage.  Cook sausage, onion and garlic in non-stick skillet until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble.  Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.      Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture, and basil.  Place half the mixture in a 4 quart casserole coated with cooking spray.  Top with half the sour cream, half the mozzarella, and half the Parmesan.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Cooked sausage, onion & garlic
The cooked ziti combined with the cooked sausage and tomato mixture
Ready to spread the sour cream on the first layer
The side view - Yummy!

Note:  This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.  When heating, bake for approximately 45 minutes.  Also, it can be frozen.  When heating, bake for approximately 1 hour, or more, depending on portion size.

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