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This is a great recipe for cold days when you crave something warm and delicious. It makes a ton but both the sauce and the pasta freeze well. I am a "dump cook" and don't have exact measures for my sauce recipe - the recipe below is my estimation of what I would use. My family loves it when I make this and the smell of the sauce simmering all afternoon is wonderful!!
- 4 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 -3 teaspoons basil
- 2 -3 teaspoons oregano
- 3 cloves crushed garlic (or more)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 -3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 -3 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- meatballs (browned only)
- uncooked Italian sausage, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 2 lbs ziti pasta, cooked and drained
- 1 1⁄2-2 lbs ricotta cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 -3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Begin by preparing sauce as follows: In a large dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in olive oil 1 or 2 minutes.
- Empty all four cans of crushed tomatoes into pot.
- Add basil, oregano, salt, crushed red pepper and brown sugar.
- Stir, bring to a boil and let simmer about 20 minutes.
- Stir sauce (this is when I usually will"taste adjust" any ingredients such as brown sugar and salt).
- Add meatballs that have just been browned and uncooked itailian sausage.
- Cover and simmer sauce for about 1 1/2- 2 hrs.
- About 10 minutes before sauce is done, mix ricotta cheese, eggs and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
- Add about 2 1/2 cups of sauce to the cheese mixture and mix well.
- (Keep remaining sauce with meatballs and sausage warm).
- Toss cooked ziti with cheese/sauce mixture and spoon into a 9x13 inch baking pan.
- (you may need a larger pan or more than 1 pan).
- Sprinkle pasta with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hr.
- Serve pasta with the extra sauce, meatballs and sausage ladled over top of each serving.