Baked Pesto Ziti with Sausage
- 1 pound ziti noodles
- 1 pound Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed (I used regular sausage)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 3-4 cloves)
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup pesto
- 9 ounces baby spinach
- 15-ounces ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ziti and cook until al dente. Drain.
- While the pasta is boiling, in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add the turkey sausage, onion and garlic and cook until the sausage is cooked through, adding a bit of salt and pepper to taste (the amount will depend on the seasonings in the sausage). While it cooks, break up the sausage into smaller pieces. Drain any excess grease if needed.
- Add the diced tomatoes, pesto and salt and pepper to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the spinach, stirring until it cooks down a bit into the hot sauce, 1-2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese and 1 1/4 cups of the Parmesan cheese.
- In the prepared baking dish, pour in the drained noodles. Dollop the ricotta mixture over the top of the noodles. Spread the sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese (1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan).
- Bake until heated through and golden around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5-7 minutes before serving.
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from the Food Network by way of Mel's friend Kim in MD (best food advice giver ever!)