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Baked Ziti with Ricotta

Baked Ziti with Ricotta, Sausage and Asparagus is the perfect way to incorporate fresh seasonal produce in a traditional dish that we all know and love!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Baked Ziti with Ricotta, Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Sausage, Baked Ziti with Sausage
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 581.6kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces ziti pasta
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, until not quite al dente (about 9 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Stir together ricotta, 6 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, pesto and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink. Drain and return to the skillet. Stir in marinara sauce. Set aside.
  • Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus pieces, cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let asparagus cool for 2-3 minutes. Drain the water and pat the asparagus dry. Add asparagus to the cooked pasta.
  • Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce mixture in the bottom of the dish. Dot the surface with half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Ladle 2 scoops of the marinara sauce into the pasta and toss to combine. Spread the pasta and asparagus mixture in a single layer in the dish.
  • Pour remaining marinara sauce over the pasta. Dot with remaining ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella and 2 remaining tablespoons of Parmesan.
  • Cover the ziti and bake for about 25-30 minutes (or until the casserole is hot and bubbly). Remove the cover and return the dish to the oven for about 10 more minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Notes

  • Prep Ahead: You can make the baked ziti up to one day ahead of time! Assemble the casserole as instructed, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature (for about 30 minutes to 1 hour).
  • How to Freeze Baked Ziti: Baked ziti can be frozen either before or after baking. The quality is best if you assemble the casserole in advance and freeze before baking. Wrapped tightly, the baked ziti will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure that you allow the dish to cool completely before wrapping and freezing.
  • Leftover baked ziti will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • How to Reheat Baked Ziti: To reheat the baked ziti directly from the freezer, cover with foil and warm in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour. Remove the cover and continue baking for about 10 more minutes. If you're reheating a thawed baked ziti, you can reduce the baking time to about 20-25 minutes (covered).

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casserole | Calories: 581.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 58.6g | Protein: 30.4g | Fat: 25.3g | Saturated Fat: 12.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10.7g | Cholesterol: 95.8mg | Sodium: 1214.9mg | Potassium: 374.3mg | Fiber: 5.2g | Sugar: 8.8g