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Easy Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti – a decadent, easy pasta casserole dish that is meaty, gooey and cheesy. It’s a potluck favorite that can be a hearty side dish or as a main course. An absolute crowd-pleaser!

Course Main, Side
Cuisine American
Servings 5 - 7 people
Calories 931 kcal
Author Immaculate Bites

Ingredients

  • 3 strips of bacon , cut into tiny strips
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound ziti pasta , cooked according to packaging
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil, for cooking
US Customary - Metric

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté bacon until brown and crisp. This may take about 6 -7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

  2. In the same skillet,  add italian sausage to the pan, cook for about 3-5 minutes or until brown; breaking it up to prevent it from clumping. 

  3. Throw in onion, garlic , thyme and Italian seasoning – saute for about 2-3 minutes or until onions is translucent.

  4. Stir in tomato sauce and bay leaves.

  5. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for at least 30- 45 minutes.

  6. While sauce is simmering , cook the pasta al dente (pasta with a bite to it). Do not overcook; you do not want it becoming too mushy.

  7. Once sauce is ready, remove bay leaf then add bacon and pasta . Adjust seasonings salt pepper

  8. Stir in the parmesan cheese and mozzarella (leave about ½ cup or more to sprinkle on top).

  9. Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish or 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese.

  10. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for about 20 -30 minutes or until ziti is heated through. And top is slightly brown.Remove from oven and then let it rest for a few minutes and serve when it is still piping hot.