This baked ziti is packed with Italian sausage, Romano and mozzarella cheeses, and will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish!
I have been making this baked ziti recipe for nearly 10 years now and it has become one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes. Not only do I make it throughout the year, but it’s also a staple at our family’s Christmas Eve dinner each year. I’ve always adored baked pasta, and this is by far my version… it’s full of Italian sausage and mozzarella and Romano cheeses. If you love pasta and comfort food, this baked ziti recipe will be right up your alley.
I typically top the baked ziti with shredded mozzarella (always shredded off the block, never the pre-shredded cheese!), but I had a ball of fresh mozzarella in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I laid slices on top of the ziti this time around. Either one works!
The key to the super cheesiness of this baked ziti isn’t just the cheese on top, but I cut a block of mozzarella cheese into very small cubes and mix it into the pasta, which creates little pockets of gooey cheese throughout the pasta. And if all that cheese wasn’t enough, the sausage totally puts this over the top.
This baked ziti recipe is the perfect dish for cozy fall dinners, holidays with lots of family, or for stashing away in the freezer if you (or someone you know) is expecting a little bundle of joy. Throw in a salad and either crusty bread or garlic bread and you have a fantastic meal.
This recipe was originally posted on May 13, 2007.
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A cheesy baked ziti recipe packed with Italian sausage and lots of cheese.
1 pound ziti pasta
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup grated Romano cheese, divided
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced small
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and put into a large bowl.
3. While the pasta is boiling, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through.
4. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the pasta.
5. Toss the pasta and sausage with the sauce, sausage, ½ cup of the Romano cheese, and the diced mozzarella.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup Romano cheese and the shredded mozzarella.
Make-Ahead Note: At this point, you can tightly cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for up to one day or freeze for up to 2 months. If frozen, place in the refrigerator the day before you plan to bake and then bake according to the directions below.
7. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until sauce and cheese are bubbling.