THE BEST BAKED ZITI

THE BEST BAKED ZITI

Easy Baked Ziti made with pasta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, basil, and sausage in a creamy sauce. If you're looking for a meal to take to someone who had a baby or to a meal to make for company, this Italian Baked Ziti is delicious! It can be made with sausage or without meat.


Yіeld : 10 servings
Prep Tіme : 15 mіns
Cook Tіme : 45 mіns
Totаl Tіme : 60 mіns

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 lb ziti (rigatoni or penne can also be used)
  • 1 (24-26 ounce) jar marinara sauce (I like Rao's brand)
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese (1% fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (more for the top)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  The next two steps can be done at the same time (cooking the sausage in one pan and the pasta in another).
  2. In a skillet, brown sausage. Drain and cool. 
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook pasta about 5 minutes (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain in a colander. 
  4. While pasta and sausage are cooking, in a large bowl, add 1 cup of the marinara sauce, the cottage cheese, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese (save 1/4 cup for the top), eggs, and basil. Add the sausage when it is done cooking. 
  5. In the same pot as the pasta or sausage (whichever pan is done being used first), add the heavy cream and cornstarch and whisk together. Cook over medium heat until thickened about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into cottage cheese mixture.
  6. Add the pasta to the cottage cheese mixture and mix well. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread remaining marinara sauce on top. Top with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  7. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with more basil and serve.

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