Baked Ziti With Hot Italian Sausage & Fresh Mozzarella

"This is a modified version of a recipe given to me by Momma Maglione. Her recipe does not include the sausage and uses her secret family gravy recipe which I cannot post. ;)"
photo by Baby Kato photo by Baby Kato
photo by Baby Kato
photo by Baby Kato photo by Baby Kato
photo by PanNan photo by PanNan
photo by Emily Elizabeth photo by Emily Elizabeth
photo by Emily Elizabeth photo by Emily Elizabeth
Ready In:
1hr 15mins




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook ziti until it is al dente (so that when you bake it in the oven it will cook the rest of the way). Rinse in cold water, drain and pour into a 7"x11" glass baking dish.
  • Meanwhile, begin cooking sausage.
  • Puree San Marzano tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes and salt in a blender until smooth.
  • When sausage is done, remove from pan and add 1/2 cup wine to reserved drippings from sausage and bring to a simmer scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan and stirring with wine. While wine is simmering, slice sausage at a slight diagonal about 1/2" thick.
  • Add pureed sauce and sliced sausage to wine and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile thinly slice and chop the fresh mozarella balls (some people recommend freezing for a 5 minutes or so to help with slicing, but I never do).
  • When sauce is done simmering, pour everything over pasta. Sprinkle 1 cup of the fresh mozzarella throughout (fresh makes all the difference!) and sprinkle the rest on top. Top with a few shakes of crushed red pepper.
  • Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until you see it getting a little bubbly. You can even cook it longer it you want it to get a little crisp on top, not too crisp as it will get dry.
  • Serve with a bottle of wine and some nice Italian music.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Baby Kato
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. The dish is really quick and easy to make and tastes great. We really enjoyed all the lovely flavors in this pasta dish. I used hot Italian sausage and a mixed variety of pasta . They worked really well in this dish. This was a great comfort meal. Made for Best of 2015.
  2. sheepdoc
    I made this with homemade rabbit sausage, Solare ancient grains gluten free penne, and shredded mozzarella, plus it ended up just being cooked in the skillet as I ran out of time. Very tasty. Note: taste before you add red pepper flakes as the heat of the sausage may be all you need.
  3. jane49423
    Loved it!
  4. Ben Sears
    WOW!!! I just had this for dinner with a salad. I made at 3pm put in fridge then cooked at 545pm. Really fresh tasting. If I would add anything it would be add garlic. Thank you, Only 2 of us so we have lunch for work.
  5. LonghornMama
    Very tasty! I made a few changes to suit the ingredients I had. Used mild Italian sausage, 6 of them, which I saut?ed, then sliced, then saut?ed some more. Added crushed red pepper, seasoning, and a little fennel to compensate for the mild sausage. Used a 28 oz can of Whole Foods organic crushed tomatoes, then made up the difference in tomatoes with about a cup of homemade pasta sauce. Used 2 7-oz containers of fresh mozzarella medallions (no cutting!), and could have used 3. Used a 13x9 baking dish. Served with homemade French bread and steamed broccoli for a delicious meal with lots of leftovers. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  1. AmandaMcG
    This was really good. I followed the recipe, except for using a 28 oz can of italian style diced tomatoes instead of the san marzano tomatoes. The san marzano tomatoes were twice the price, so I got the cheaper option. I loved the taste of the wine sauce. I think there was barely enough sauce because I like extra sauce, so next time I may use the 28 oz can, plus a 14 oz can of tomatoes and increase the wine to 3/4 cup. This was my first time using fresh mozzarella instead of shredded and I thought it was excellent in this recipe. I baked it in a 9 x 11 pan and it was done in 30 mins. Also, I used a immersion blender instead of a regular blender and it worked fine. Thanks for a delicious recipe. I will definitely make this again sometime.



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