Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

With the increased pace of life now that my kids are getting older, I'm finding that more and more my recipe blogging has slipped to the back burner.  I was wondering if I'd ever regain my motivation to do it again, until one day I was making a recipe for the fourth or fifth time and I couldn't find the slip of paper that it was written down on.  That's when it struck me, I need to keep blogging if for nothing else to keep track of my favorite recipes.   I may not blog as often or with as many pictures as I usually do, but I am pleased to say that I will still at least occasionally share some of my favorite new discoveries along the way!  

This dish was a HUGE hit at our house and there was no way I was going to lose this recipe.  It was a tad time consuming to put together (about 1 hour for the prep and the baking) for a weekday night, but it was worth every bit of the effort.  Last time I made it, I made a double batch so I could freeze one for another night.  This dish is as good as the sausage you choose, so I recommend choosing a good quality Italian sausage (I used the sliceable kind [Niman Ranch spicy Italian chicken sausage is my favorite brand], but you could also use a good ground sausage if you preferred.  Just don't buy the cheap stuff in a tube.)

Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
3 cups uncooked ziti or penne pasta (about 10-oz)
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 lb. spicy Italian sausage, sliced
medium onion, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5-oz each) diced tomatos
1/4 cup pesto    
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 cups fresh spinach, chopped (about 8-oz)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic just until soft  (about 5 minutes).  Add sausage slices and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).  Add tomatoes with juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Stir in pesto.  Add salt and pepper.  Lightly oil 9x13-inch baking dish.  Combine cooked pasta, chopped spinach, mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into baking dish.  
Pour pasta sauce over top and stir together.  Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  
Serves 6.   Enjoy!  

Recipe Source:  an old church cookbook 


Orris Family June 20, 2013 at 10:28 AM  

What brand sausage do you recommend?

Lara June 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM  

My favorite sausage is the Niman Ranch Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage. It is nitrate/nitrite/bht free and is available at my local grocery store. There is also a spicy Italian brand at Costco that I like which is also free of the preservatives, but I for the life of me can't remember the brand name (it's not the Aidell's brand). Next time I go to Costco I'll buy some and see what brand name it is.

Kim June 28, 2013 at 11:08 PM  

This was so good. My hubby called it a keeper. Keep up the good work!!!

Shane Stevens August 30, 2013 at 3:54 PM  

Wow! this version is looking to be simply the best I'll ever try out... keeping my fingers crossed

Unknown September 6, 2013 at 1:55 AM  

This is a healthy recipe for sure! When will I make this hmmmnn I wonder.

Pasta-recipes September 6, 2013 at 3:00 AM  

Recipe is very simple and easy to do. I know what I'll cook today.

Unknown September 28, 2013 at 5:51 AM  

oh I like that recipe
i love eating that's why im too fat now :)
but most of the time what i eat are any kind of chocolates
like milk chocolate ,French macarons, and macarons london and so on.
well anyway that recipe above is interesting i wanna try that at home.

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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