Vacation time - finally! Of course, vacation around here means two things: I'm gonna take the time to cook elaborate meals I'd never have the time for otherwise and we're going to be remodeling one room of the house. For the remodel, we're doing the living room/dining room and I'm already wondering how on earth we thought we'd finish this in a week!
So on to the recipe!
Today's recipe is baked ziti, a favorite around my house. This is one of those recipes that only take a while to put together because of all the chopping that needs to be done. If you can get someone to help you in the kitchen, then it's not so bad. All together, plan on at least an hour-and-a-half, closer to two.
This recipes is measured out to fill two 3 quart casserole dishes as it's enough trouble that we always make two - one to to eat now and one to freeze for later. If you're just gone make the one, cut everything in half.
- 3 lbs of Italian sausage with the casings removed
- 1 cup of diced onions
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 2 14.5 ounce cans of peels and diced tomatoes (Italian style if your store offers it)
- 2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of dried basil
- 2 teaspoons of mint
- 2 teaspoons of oregano
- 2 lbs of penne pasta
- 3 4.5 ounce cans of sliced mushrooms
- 1 lb of mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage with celery and onion until evenly browned; drain grease.
- Combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, garlic, basil, mint, and oregano and bring to a simmer.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; add a little olive oil and salt. Cook pasta and drain.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two quart casserole dishes, layer pasta, mushrooms, sausage, mozzarella cheese and sauce, repeat layer and top with Parmesan.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
We like to serve with salmon and a garden salad. If you're a wine buff, this goes well with a good zinfandel; if you're a looking for a suggestion, I recommend Magito's 2004 Zinfandel, which you can buy online!