Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

With my freeze-now, serve-later dishes, you can give your family a comfy meal even on the busiest weeknight. Cheesy, zesty, and studded with savory Italian sausage, my baked ziti feeds a crowd and then some--without much time spent in the kitchen. This yummy twist on baked ziti will please kids as well as adults.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 POUND SWEET AND/OR HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE LINKS, CASINGS REMOVED
  • 4 CLOVES GARLIC, GRATED
  • 2 LARGE RED, GREEN AND/OR YELLOW BELL PEPPERS, CUT INTO 1/4-INCH SLICES
  • 1 JUMBO ONION { 1 POUND }, CUT IN HALF, THEN CUT CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH SLICES
  • 1 POUND SLICED WHITE MUSHROOMS
  • 1 CAN { 28 OUNCES } WHOLE TOMATOES, IN PUREE
  • 1 CAN { 15 OUNCES } TOMATO PUREE
  • 1 TEASPOON SALT
  • 1 PACKAGE { 16 OUNCES } ZITI
  • 1 PACKAGE { 8 OUNCES } SHREDDED MOZZARELLA CHEESE
  • 1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PECORINO-ROMANO CHEESE

 DIRECTIONS:

  1. IN A DEEP NONSTICK 12-INCH SKILLET, COOK SAUSAGE OVER MEDIUM HEAT 10 MINUTES OR UNTIL BROWNED, STIRRING AND BREAKING IT UP WITH THE SIDE OF A SPOON. WITH A SLOTTED SPOON, TRANSFER SAUSAGE TO A MEDIUM BOWL.
  2. IN DRIPPINGS IN SKILLET, COOK GARLIC, PEPPERS, ONION AND MUSHROOMS, COVERED, 10 MINUTES. UNCOVER AND COOK 8 MINUTES LONGER OR UNTIL VEGETABLES ARE TENDER AND MOST OF THE LIQUID HAS EVAPORATED. 
  3. STIR IN TOMATOES AND PUREE, TOMATO PUREE, AND SALT; HEAT TO BOILING OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT, STIRRING AND BREAKING UP TOMATOES WITH THE SIDE OF A SPOON.
  4. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM-LOW; COVER AND COOK 10 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.
  5. MEANWHILE, HEAT A LARGE COVERED SAUCEPOT OF SALTED WATER TO BOILING OVER HIGH HEAT. ADD PASTA AND COOK 2 MINUTES LESS THAN PACKAGE DIRECTS.
  6. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES. RESERVE 1/2 CUP OF THE PASTA COOKING WATER. DRAIN PASTA.
  7. RETURN PASTA AND RESERVED COOKING WATER TO SAUCEPOT; STIR IN TOMATO SAUCE. ADD MOZZARELLA AND RESERVED SAUSAGE; TOSS TO COMBINE. 
  8. DIVIDE MIXTURE BETWEEN 2 UNGREASED 2 1/2-QUART BAKING DISHES. SPRINKLE WITH PECORINO.
  9. BAKE 20 TO 25 MINUTES OR UNTIL TOPS BROWN AND SAUCE IS BUBBLING. LET STAND 10 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.

ACTIVE TIME: 20 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 25 MINUTES
MAKES: 2 CASSEROLES, 4 MAIN-DISH SERVINGS EACH