Ooey gooey cheesy pasta. Nothing to not like about this recipe. Roasted red bell peppers and fresh mozzarella set this dish apart. Buff it up (or make vegetarian by replacing the sausage) even more by adding mushrooms and spinach. Add the mushrooms in with the onion while cooking and add thawed and drained frozen spinach with the cheeses.
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 lb sweet italian sausage
28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14oz can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ziti pasta, cooked to box instructions minus 1 minute cook time
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 16oz container whole ricotta
1 8oz package fresh mozzarella pearls (pictured below)
1 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Heat the butter in a deep skillet on medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until transparent.
Add the sausage and cook until well browned. Drain a little, but not all, of the fat off.
Add the tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer while the pasta is cooking. Preheat oven to 350
Combine the parmesan, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, bell pepper, and egg in a large bowl.
Rinse off pasta in cool water to slow cooking.
Toss pasta and cheeses.
Add 4 cups approximately of the tomato sauce to the pasta and combine.
In a deep lasagna or 9x13 pan, ladle a little of the sauce onto the bottom. Just enough to lightly coat.
Spoon half the pasta into the pan. Spoon half the remaining sauce on top. Repeat. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.
Cook 30 minutes until bubbling. Top with herbs and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
Example of the mozzarella I used. Its in the special cheese section