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Baked ziti with sausage is a favorite in our home. The Italian sausage flavor combined with several different cheeses with a light tomato puree to tie it all together makes this the perfect comfort dish. I love that this recipe doesn’t take a lot of time to put together and it is super easy to double the recipe and put one in the freezer, to take to a friend in need, or to feed a crowd!This baked ziti recipe is one of our family’s favorite comfort foods! It is the perfect recipe to take to a friend in need or throw in your freezer to pull out on a busy night. It ranks right up there with our other favorites Goulash and buffalo chicken pasta, and hamburger casserole.
Baked Ziti with Mozzarella Cheese
Baked ziti with mozzarella is a favorite in our home because of all the different flavors it combines together. This baked ziti combines Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and croutons to make this the ultimate cheesy creamy one pot wonder, perfect for any night of the week!
Not only that, but this baked ziti with sausage recipe is perfect to feed a bunch of people quickly or to take a friend in need!
Italian Baked Ziti Recipe
This Italian baked ziti recipe is so simple to make and so delicious to eat!
In this version of baked ziti, it combines 3 different types of cheese so will certainly get the creaminess you are craving and the cheesiness the kids love!
Seriously, this baked ziti is sure to please everyone who sits down to eat it, making it the best baked ziti recipe that you will find.
My favorite part of this easy baked Ziti Without Ricotta Cheese
There are so many reasons why my family and I love this simple baked ziti recipe!
First of all, I love how easy it is! I love with just a few minutes of prep I have a comfort meal to feed my family. Not only that, but it is so easy to whip together last minute if I need to take a meal to a friend or neighbor last minute.
I also love the fact that this version of baked ziti is different than most that you will find. This is a baked ziti without ricotta cheese which I love because sometimes kids don’t love ricotta cheese. This baked ziti with sausage uses cheeses kids love such as mozzarella, cream cheese, and a little bit of parmesan making it a kid approved favorite.
Lastly, who doesn’t love croutons? And yes, this baked ziti has croutons to satisfy our crouton cravings! You’re welcome 🙂
Baked Ziti Ingredients
- Ziti pasta – Ziti pasta noodles are perfect for the recipe! I mean it is called baked ziti for a reason. These noodles can be found at any grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can substitute for a penne pasta if you really need to, but definitely try to only use ziti noodles.
- Italian sausage – Italian sausage is the only meat in this baked ziti recipe. I love to use Italian sausage for a little bit more flavoring without overpowering the dish. I wouldn’t consider Italian sausage spicy, so therefore it is perfect for kids.
- Onion – Onion adds a bit of texture to this Italian baked ziti recipe.
- Garlic – Garlic gives this baked ziti some flavor depth and is so perfect for this comfort classic.
- Tomato puree – I use tomato puree for a lighter sauce version of baked ziti with sausage rather than using marinara or spaghetti sauce. I feel like it gives it a lighter flavor and texture to allow the other flavors of this dish to be the star.
- Italian seasoning – Italian seasoning helps elevate this dish with the true Italian flavor you crave with this baked ziti recipe.
- Garlic salt – This helps add a little more garlic flavor to the dish and just a touch of salt that this recipe needs.
- Mozzarella cheese – Secretly one of my favorite cheeses. I feel like all Italian dishes need a little bit of mozzarella cheese in them.
- Cream cheese – The cream cheese is giving this baked ziti without ricotta recipe the creaminess that you love in other baked ziti recipes, but yet a whole new level of delicious flavors. Don’t skimp on the cream cheese because it is so tasty.
- Croutons – You might initially be a critic with croutons in baked ziti with sausage, but once you try it you won’t go back… In fact, I bet you find yourself adding more to this recipe next time you make it!
- Parmesan cheese – No Italian pasta dish is complete without the parmesan cheese. Opt to get a brick of it, rather than the pre shredded version. It holds its flavor better than the pre shredded versions.
Making Italian Baked Ziti Recipe
Making this simple baked ziti recipe is really easy to make. It really comes down to a few minutes of prep and then cooking it in the oven.
How to Make Baked Ziti with Sausage
- In a large pot, you will want to cook your pasta as directed. Then drain and set aside.
- While this is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In another pot on the stove, brown the sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat.
- Drain off any grease.
- Then in a mixing bowl, combine tomato puree, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.
- Add this to the cooked sausage.
- Then in a deeper oblong baking dish, layer half the pasta, half the sausage mixture, and then half the mozzarella cheese.
- Cut your cream cheese in small cubes and drop half of them on this layer, spreading them evenly.
- Repeat this process again with the remainder of the pasta, sausage mixture, mozzarella cheese and cream cheese.
- Top the dish with croutons.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
- Loosely cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
Can you Freeze baked Ziti?
Yes, baked ziti is always a great dish to have on hand in the freezer for a night where you will be too busy to prepare or a quick meal to take to a friend!
If you are going to freeze your baked ziti with mozzarella cheese then I usually assemble it , but don’t add the croutons. I then double wrap it in plastic wrap and then cover with aluminum foil.
When we are going to eat it, I get it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge overnight and let it thaw.
When you are ready to cook it, add the croutons and bake as directed.
How Long Does this Baked Ziti Recipe Last in the Fridge?
After you have cooked your baked ziti, it will last in the fridge 3-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
What is the difference between baked ziti and lasagna?
The most recognizable difference between baked ziti and lasagna are the noodles you use. The sauce in this recipe is different as well as the added croutons which makes this recipe a little more unique and delicious!
What Should I Serve with Baked Ziti with Sausage?
This baked ziti is plenty filling by itself, but I love to have:
- A small salad or caesar salad
- Breadsticks or a crusty loaf of french bread
Find More Pasta Favorites
Baked Ziti with Sausage
- 16 oz. box ziti pasta
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 28 oz. tomato puree
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese shredded
- 8 oz. cream cheese cut into cubes
- 1 cup croutons garlic-flavored
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta as directed. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 350.
- Brown sausage, onion and garlic in skillet over medium heat. Drain.
- In mixing bowl, combine tomato puree, Italian seasonings, and garlic salt.
- Mix with cooked sausage.
- In a deep oblong baking dish, layer half of the cooked pasta, half of the sausage mixture, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Drop half of the cream cheese cubes on the layer - spreading out so they'll spread as they cook.
- Repeat layers and top with croutons.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.