One of the easiest meals to make during a busy weeknight is pasta! These recipes come together in such a delicious and mouth-watering way that you will want to make it again and again!
Classic Baked Ziti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup red wine, such as Chianti (chicken stock or vegetable stock works as a substitute)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 teaspoon of dried parsley)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 12 ounces rigatoni, penne, or ziti pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed (vegetarians can replace with mushrooms or use veggie sausages)
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 cups homemade (recipe below) or store-bought marinara
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put olive oil in a large skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté them until translucent for about five to ten minutes. Once translucent, add the garlic and cook it for about a minute.
- Add the wine (or stock) and turn up the heat to high, making sure to scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly all the liquid evaporates – about three minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper and then cover, stirring everything together. Cover and let the mixture simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Then, set the sauce aside for the baked ziti.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a hefty pinch of salt to the water, then add the pasta and boil it for seven to ten minutes (or until it is al dente).
- Drain the pasta and then toss it with a teaspoon of oil before pouring it into a large mixing bowl.
- Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a large pan over medium-high heat to cook the sausage. Add the sausage and break it apart with a spatula or spoon while cooking it until it is evenly browned, for about five minutes. Drain the sausage and add it to the pasta mixture.
- After discarding the grease from the pan, add the rest of the oil and saute the onion, bell peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper for three to four minutes. Add this to the sausage and pasta mixture and toss everything together.
- Add the marinara sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and fold everything together.
- Season to taste, and then pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 baking dish. Top the mixture with the rest of the cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
Now, this incredible ziti with homemade sauce would not be complete without a crunchy and flavor punching garlic bread!
Easy Garlic Bread Recipe
- 1 loaf French or Italian bread (a large fluffy loaf)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (thyme, parsley, basil, and/or rosemary) or 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set out a large baking sheet.
- Cut the loaf of bread in half, parallel to the cutting board. Lay both pieces of bread cut-side-up on the baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix the softened butter, parmesan cheese, olive oil, minced garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Smash and mix until well combined.
- Spread a thick even layer of the garlic butter over the top of each piece of bread. Spread it all the way to the edges, and use it all!
- Bake on the center rack for 8 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Immediately cut and serve the garlic bread.
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