Monday, January 17, 2022



I found this week's recipe here at "Garnish and Glaze". The blog host is Melanie and she lives in Nebraska.  There are many, many delicious recipes on her blog, and it is well worth checking them out. 

Baked Ziti with Sweet Italian Sausage - serves 8

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, peeled
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (15 ounces) Basil and Oregano diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 box (16 ozs.) rigatoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh chopped parsley and basil for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook sausage and onions together until meat is browned.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds)

Break tomatoes apart with your hands as you add them to the skillet.

Stir in the tomato sauce, paste, sugar, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, turn to low, cover and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the meat is cooked through, and then stir in the diced tomatoes and fresh basil (if you like your sauce thick you can simmer without the lid, but the sauce thickens when it bakes also.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or two 8 x 8 inch dishes.

While sauce simmers cook the pasta as directed on the package for 10 minutes or until al dente.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot.

Mix 2 cups of the sauce in with the noodles.

Pour half the pasta into the baking dish, top with half the remaining meat sauce, sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and then repeat the layers using up the remaining ingredients (you can add more cheese to the top if desired).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Let dish cool for 10 minutes and then serve garnished with Parmesan cheese, parsley and basil.

Melissa also mentions that you can use plain diced tomatoes with the addition of 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil to the sauce right before you simmer it, and add the plain diced tomatoes after simmering.

Also this can be made without the sausage.  You will need to cook the onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Serving size is an 1/8 of the recipe.  With the sausage it comes out to about 541 calories per serving.  Without sausage it is 401 calories.

What did we think of this dish?  It was delicious!  

I only had the sweet Italian sausage in links. I took the casings off and broke the meat up in the skillet. For next time I would make it easier on myself and buy the Italian sausage meat in a roll.  It doesn't take that long to remove the casings but I just like to remove all the steps I can.

I improvised a bit.  I didn't have the exact sized baking dishes suggested, but a Corning Casserole that I have had in my collection for years fit nicely. I am not sure of its capacity and didn't bother to measure it but it is not overly large.  The mixture came right to the top of the dish but did not spill over into the oven. I did lay some aluminum foil on the shelf beneath the dish just in case.

I grated enough Parmesan to put on top of our meals, and also added a slice of buttered bread, sprinkled with grated Parmesan and toasted under the broiler.  

Another tasty treat we have discovered is if you put a teaspoon of grated Parmesan right on the broiling pan, it melts into a delicious, crispy wafer.  We found this out when we broiled those Parmesan toasts as extra cheese fell onto the broiling pan.  We loved nibbling on these.  It would also be good broken up and put on top of say tomato soup instead of using bread.  I am not sure how difficult it would be peeling it off any other way, but when I use my non-stick aluminum foil, I can remove it easily. Parchment paper might also work.

Serve with your favorite side.  A nice green salad was our choice.  

Easy enough to leave the sausage out of this dish and go vegetarian.  I have made it both ways.

I will make two casseroles next time, one to freeze.  There are enough leftovers in one dish to last us for a couple of days.  

Thanks for looking and have a great week.


  1. Ziti is a term we don't use here in Australia. Reading through the recipe, my carnivorous partner would love it - and you are right, I could easily adapt the recipe to suit my vegetarian self. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Sue, I wonder what you call this type of past? :) I would be happy with this dish either way and glad to read your carnivorous partner would enjoy.

  2. Replies
    1. Muito obrigado :) Um abraço e um bom fim de semana!

  3. Looks delicious, I will definitely try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

    1. Thanks Eileen, happy you liked this enough to try. It was delicious! Happy weekend to you :)

  4. That looks delicious. It would be perfect on a cold snowy day like today

    1. Thanks Ann :) it is a delicious recipe. Very comforting on a chilly day.

  5. Looks delicious and perfect for winter.

  6. This is excellent! Thanks for sharing.

  7. This sounds wonderful Denise! We once had a Reuben Sandwich in a restaurant (remember those?) where they put grated parmesan on the *outside* of the sandwich before they broiled it ... it was sooo good and I have always wondered if you could just do it with plain cheese but I've never tried it (or making the sandwich that way either for that matter). Oh yay, now you have given me three different ideas for things to cook. Thank you as always . Hope you have a wonderful week.

    1. Goodness Sallie, that Reuben does sound good! I haven't had a Reuben for a very long time and cooked this way sounds decadent :) So glad you are enjoying these and you are very welcome! Hope you have a great weekend, I am late catching up on my comments and it is already Friday :)

  8. Sounds delicious. I'll have to save this and try it on our kids the next time they come for dinner.

    1. I saw your other comment Ellen and it made me smile :) It is quite a large meal but we are always ready for leftovers and freezing, until our own army shows up that is, lol!

  9. Replies
    1. I wish I could serve you up a portion Regine :)

  10. Looks and sounds a tasty comforting dish.

    All the best Jan

  11. Looks so delish and hearty!

    Happy Tuesday, Denise!

    1. Thank you Veronica, and you have a Happy Day and Weekend :)

  12. This looks yummy! I'm too tired to cook, though. The snow is shoveled.

    1. Thanks Jenn :) Ah yes, shoveling takes all our energy. I hope you don't have any aches and pains. Getting rid of heavy snow can take it out of you for sure.


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