Baked Ziti with Sausage

Baked Ziti with SausageIngredients

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
• 3½ cups tomato puree
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
• 8 ounces ricotta
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• ½ cup grated Parmesan
• 1 pound ziti or penne pasta
• ½ pound mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)

1. In a large sauté pan, warm olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onion and sauté, stirring for 2 minutes. Add Italian sausage and cook and stir, crumbling sausage for 5-6 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and drain off excess grease. Add tomato puree, oregano, and basil. Cook sauce at a steady simmer while preparing the rest of the dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, salt, parsley and parmesan. Set aside (refrigerate if any unused for longer than 30 minutes).

3. Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until about half cooked. Drain pasta, and then set aside to dry further if you have time. Add pasta to ricotta cheese mixture and stir well to combine. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Add sauce to the pasta and ricotta mixture and combine well.

5. Pour pasta sauce mixture into a 4-5 quart ovenproof oven dish. Level top with the back of a spatula or spoon. Spread mozzarella evenly and bake until cheese is browned.

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