Ziti and Sausage Bake

Dinner was never so easy! Your family will love this Ziti Sausage Bake so much that you’ll be making all year long. I used a combination of sweet and hot sausage, or Portuguese Chourica sausage for a variety of flavor in every bite. You can also make this dish ahead of time and pop it in the oven just 30 minutes before serving.

Sausage ingredients:

2 pounds combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage

1 large onion (sliced thinly)

1 medium red bell pepper (sliced thinly)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup red wine

Bake ingredients:

1 pound package of Ziti

1 and 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese

1 and 1/2 cups of shredded mozarella or your favorite cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2  teaspoons dry oregano

1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes with garlic and Italian seasonings

1 t0 2 cups of marinara or your favorite pasta sauce ( depending on how much sauce you like)

Prepare Sausage:

Place the sausages in a large skillet and add the water and wine. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat turning them over and piercing with a fork to cook evenly. After 10 minutes, remove any excess liquid from the pan. Slice the sausages and add the onions and red bell pepper to the same pan. Cook for about 5 – 10 minutes until the sausages are cooked and the onions are golden stirring once in a while. Add the crushed tomatoes and sauce, cover and let simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta and set aside until ready to assemble.

Assemble Bake:

Place half the pasta in a large deep dish baking pan. Mix the Ricotta cheese with 1 tablespoon of basil and spread over pasta.

Spread 1/2 of the sausage mixture over pasta and top with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese.

Pour the remaining pasta evenly over the sausage. Top with the remaining sausage and the rest of shredded cheese. Sprinkle with the basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese.

Bake slightly covered with foil for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until the bake is hot and golden on top. Uncover during the last few minutes if you want a slightly crispy top.

Serve with crusty bread and a salad. Enjoy!

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