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Italian Baked Ziti

Category: Dinner
Source: Kristen J. Gough

This lasagna alternative is easy to make, feeds a crowd and smells divine! Read more about Italian Baked Ziti in the Crumbs blog.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes baking + 15 minutes cooling
Number of Servings: 10+
Ingredients: 1 16 oz. package ziti pasta
1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
2 24-oz. jars spaghetti sauce
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (optional, but recommended)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions: 1. Cook the Italian sausage, breaking up the meat into bite-sized pieces with the spatula.

2. Cook the pasta according the package directions. Note: This recipe works best with ziti cooked to al dente; make sure not to overcook the pasta.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta and sausage, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, all the ricotta cheese and both jars of spaghetti sauce.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Coat a 9" by 13" pan with baking spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan, if desired.

6. Place the filled 9" by 13" pan on a cookie sheet to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. (The pan will be heavy!)

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cheese becomes golden brown.

8. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Reheats and freezes well!

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