Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers

Baked pasta dishes are the perfect cold-weather comfort food and this baked ziti recipe is at the top of our list of favorites. Made with crumbled Italian sausage, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and a creamy blend of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella, it's an easy, soul-satisfying pasta dinner that everybody seems to love.

Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers

Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This recipe for baked ziti combines Italian sausage, tomatoes, bell peppers and a cheesy blend of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella to make a delicious, hearty pasta dinner.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ziti, penne or rigatoni
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sauté until lightly browned, breaking the meat up into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and continue cooking until softened, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and bell peppers, combine well and continue cooking, stirring often, until the peppers are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  5. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, cream and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Add the pasta to the sausage mixture and combine. Stir in the ricotta mixture and combine thoroughly.
  7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.