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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.
This sauce is delicious. My family loves it. I use this recipe all the time, whether I'm making baked ziti or another pasta. Everyone asks me how I made the sauce. Thanks for a great recipe.
this was super, kids and hubby love it, i made this with her mock cheese sticks
i made this just as at was written and it was great!! i loved that the ziti was so rich and creamy with the cheese sauce and then the sauce with the meatballs and sausage was perfect spooned all over it. yum! this will go on the monthly rotation. thanks for posting.