Ziti Al Forno con Salsiccia (Baked Ziti with Sausage)

Ziti Al Forno con Salsiccia (Baked Ziti with Sausage)
Recipe type: entrees
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (casing removed), or uncooked bulk Italian sausage with fennel
  • 3 cups tomato puree or pizza sauce (if already seasoned; leave out basil and oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
  • 1cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (flat-leaf if possible)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ziti pasta (penne may be substituted)
  • ½ pound shredded mozzarella (about 2 cups)
  1. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Italian sausage and cook and stir for 5-6 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through.
  4. Remove from the heat and drain off excess grease.
  5. Add the tomato puree, oregano, and basil.
  6. Cook the sauce at a steady simmer while preparing the rest of the dish. (Can be made ahead.)
  7. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, salt, parsley, and Parmesan.
  8. Set aside.
  9. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta a bit more than half way.
  10. Drain the pasta and add it to the ricotta cheese mixture.
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  12. Take the sauce off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the sauce to the pasta and ricotta mixture and combine well.
  14. Pour the pasta-sauce mixture into a 4- to 5-quart baking pan.
  15. Level the top with the back of a spoon.
  16. Spread the mozzarella evenly over the pasta and bake until the cheese browns and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes.
  17. To order, place a portion in an ovenproof skillet or serving dish and reheat as needed.
  18. Top with extra sauce and cheese.
  19. Serve.