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.
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Combine the ricotta, parmesan, cream and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese in a small bowl and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.