Packed with cheese, homemade sauce, and spicy Italian sausage, this great baked ziti is an easy dinner recipe the whole family will love. Also, an excellent company dish or prep-ahead for a potluck or holiday meal.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I don't use convection for this. Also, get your pasta started right away and cook to al dente per the package instructions.
Chop one medium onion.
In a large pan, add one pound Italian sausage, and the chopped onion. Brown over medium-high heat. About 10 minutes and the last few minutes, add 2-3 cloves of minced or crushed garlic.
Add 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional), 1/2 teaspoon oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Turn to low and simmer for a few minutes.
Cut 8 oz of mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes.
Add the sauce to the pasta. Add the cubed mozzarella and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Mix well.
Add to a casserole pan and top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. A 9×13-inch rectangular casserole pan is good, or a 12 inch round works well too.
Bake at 375 until golden brown. About 30 minutes until golden brown
The quality of your ingredients is everything in Italian cooking. If you use generic ingredients, you will have generic results.
Cook the pasta to al dente per the package instructions. Do not overcook. It cooks more in the oven.
A 9×13-inch rectangular casserole pan is good, or a 12 inch round works well too.
You can cut down the size, but you will have leftover ingredients. The recommended amounts are standard packages.
This is good refrigerated for 3-4 days and good frozen for 3-4 months.
Make it Perfect First Time and Every TimeDon't miss out, check the full post. Almost every recipe includes easy step by step photo instructions so you can visualize yourself cooking this recipe along with helpful tips and options.