The holidays are on their way, and I am already nervous about how busy I will be. Not only is it busy because of the actual holiday celebrations, but with my line of work it’s just the way things are every year. The other day I was surfing Pinterest and found a great recipe that is easy to make and can be made in a large batch so you have leftovers, or even freeze half of it for a meal when you have no time to put one together. I’m positive this will come in handy during this very busy season!
Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti/Penne (if the store doesn’t have Ziti!)
Ingredients you’ll need along with my notes:
8 ounces uncooked pasta (I used penne since Trader Joes didn’t sell Ziti)
2 tsp oil (I used olive)
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 cubanelle peppers chopped (didn’t know what this was so I substituted mushrooms!)
1 medium onion chopped
12 ounces Italian sausage (they suggested links, but then later you have to cut them all up so I just did ground sausage)
1 cup ricotta
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
¼ cup parmesan
¼ cup parsley chopped (didn’t have this on hand so I didn’t use it)
2 cups marinara sauce
First preset the oven to 400 degrees. Boil some water and cook the pasta as you usually would, drain, and set aside. I cooked the pasta a little less than usual since it would be cooked more in the oven and I like my pasta a bit firm.
While the pasta is boiling, heat the oil in a pan, brown the sausage and add the onion, pepper, and mushrooms near the end (again I don’t like soggy I like firm so I didn’t want these to cook too long).
In a bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella, and 3 tbs parmesan (also add parsley here if you’d like). Incorporate the cheese mixture in with the drained noodles and 1 cup of marinara sauce. Place the meat mixture in the (greased) pan, then combine the noodle mixture with the meat. I did it this way because my bowl was too small and you are actually looking at all of my counter space. What can I say? I have to get creative! You can just mix it all together at once if you want.
Pour remaining 1 cup of marinara on top and then sprinkle with what’s left of the parmesan and mozzarella.
Slide in the oven for 20 minutes or until the whole thing is bubbling. I decided to serve with a green salad to balance out the meal:
This meal was the definition of comfort food. All that delicious cheese is to blame! A perfect meal when the weather starts getting cool. The original recipe can be found on Women’s Day right here. Honestly this made a lot of food and next time I would either cut the recipe in half or put half in a container in the freezer before baking the rest. Then you could defrost the frozen one and bake a little longer than the 20 and have a whole meal ready to go.