Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baked Ziti, Sausage in White Cheese Sauce

When it comes to quick, satisfying, comfort food, pasta in any form does it for me. Through the years I have cut out hundreds of pasta recipes with the intention of making them all! I have many cookbooks where I flagged many delicious looking pasta recipes, that I will eventually get to make...maybe years from today but, eventually!!  A fondness for pasta, with creamy white sauces, seems to spell comfort to me. The pasta I'm sharing today is made with a "Bechamel"sauce.  Bechamel is a white sauce that is used in many Italian pasta dishes. The origin of Bechamel, or white sauce, is questionable.  Ranging from Italian origins, brought to the France court by the cooks of Catherina dei Medici, to being the invention of the Marquis of Bechameil. Origin aside, Bechamel or Bechiamella as it is called in Italian, is a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk. It is commonly used in Italian oven baked dishes.
This week has been long and stressful. In my search for something easy, delicious and comforting, I decided on this baked ziti. It has an easy white sauce and a wonderful cheesey layer! A nice big salad, some Italian bread and you have a delicious meal.  Buon Appetito!


The ingredients for the cheese layer
Sausage cooked, cut and ready to be added to the pasta
The creamy pasta layer
This was a delicious creamy pasta dish. When this came out of the oven we were all so hungry we just dug in. Oh nooo.....No pictures!!!


BAKED ZITI, SAUSAGE IN WHITE CHEESE
SAUCE
1 lb. pkg. ziti macaroni
4 tbsp. salad oil
1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage

SAUCE:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
4 c. milk
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

CHEESE LAYER:

1 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. chopped roasted red pepper
2 eggs
2 tbsp. basil
Salt and pepper
(I added a 1/2 cup of grated Mozzarella cheese to the cheese mixture)

1/2 lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated
Paprika

Cook ziti as directed and drain. In hot oil, saute sausage until lightly browned. Remove from pan and then slice (1/2 inch pieces). To make sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan, remove from heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boiling, stirring. Reduce heat; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. In bowl, combine ziti and sauce.

To make cheese layer; in medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, eggs, basil, salt and pepper; mix well.

In bottom of 9 x 13 inch baking dish, spoon half the ziti sauce mixture. Layer with cheese mixture. Spoon on remaining ziti sauce mixture. Arrange sliced sausage on top. Sprinkle with grated Mozzarella and paprika. Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 10 servings.


16 comments:

  1. I can understand why you dug into your baked Ziti when it came out of the oven, wow! This is true comfort food and I've never seen it prepared this way using sausage-what a great idea!

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  2. Wish this was on the table for dinner tonight. It really looks like a great comfort food, and tasty to boot!

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  3. Oh, boy, this sounds delicious, Kathy! Most baked zitis are missing some zing, but I know you have a winner here!

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  4. Without a doubt pasta is my favorite! I too am always checking out pasta recipes, tagging them for future dinners. And this one will certainly make it to the list! Love the combination of flavors and creaminess!

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  5. I guess I shouldn't have looked at this when I was starving! It looks incredible! Definitely adding to my must-make list!

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  6. Kathy-just want you to know, that I'm being tortured by your delicious baked ziti...none of the ingredients, that I'm allowed to have. I must bookmark this recipe for a "splurge" weekend dish, that I can make, and keep up with my WW program the rest of the following week...fair game:DDD

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  7. I'm so glad I stopped by your blog while I take a paperwork break. I need to take dinner to some Eastern European friends who are in the USA for 2 months and I've been wondering what they might like. You have inspired me. They love Italian foods of all kinds and sausages are their favorite meats. I didn't have time to dream up a menu for them so thanks for sharing this dish...it will be perfect!

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  8. For some odd reason, my husband does not like ziti - it probably has everything to do with his mother's lousy cooking (yes, I can say that aloud because she passed away before we got married and no bad ju-ju will come my way:)
    But there is no pasta shape that is not dear to my heart and Bechamel is the sauce of sauces:) I can seriously live on pasta (Sofia Lauren claims that she owes her svelte figure to eating exclusively pasta and she is gorgeous at 70+!)
    Let me drop these stubborn 10 lbs and I'll get on the cheesy ziti wagon!

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  9. This baked pasta looks amazing! I'm drooling over the sausage.

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  10. This is calling to me, singing to me and coming over for a visit.

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  11. anything with pasta is good in my book!

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  12. Thank you for this - my daughter's will love you forever!
    Mary x

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  13. This does look like a wonderful comfort food, Kathy.

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  14. That looks rich and delicious! Yum!

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  15. Very mouthwatering sausage and cheese! Yummy recipe! Will try this tonight!

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  16. wow this looks really delicious and the photos makes me hungry

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