This recipe was originally published in November, 2009 and has been updated.
Today’s recipe is always a family favorite. I have taken this dish into lots of family’s when someone was sick or had a new baby and it is always a hit. The recipe is always requested. It is also a great dish to make for company or when you are feeding two hungry 19 year old boys.
As part of the Mormon faith we have a missionary program. Our young men and women give up 18 months to 2 years of their life to serve as missionaries. Both of my boys served missions, in Argentina and Chile. I love feeding the missionaries and am grateful for all the women that fed my boys when they were serving their missions. Having a lot of food on hand when I feed the missionaries is always a requirement!
At church there is a calendar that is passed around and people sign up to feed the missionaries each night. I had told the Elders that if they ever had a hole in the calendar and no where to go for dinner to let me know! They had an open invitation at our house.
Sunday after church I saw them in the hall and they said they had no where to go for Sunday dinner. Of course I invited them to join us!
Fortunately for me I haven’t gotten use to cooking for our reduced sized family so there was plenty of food to share.
We were having a yummy baked ziti with spinach and sausage.
Since I had a few too many things that needed to be baked at the same time I borrowed my neighbor’s oven – I do that a lot. How I dream of one day having double ovens….
I baked the breadsticks next door.
After the breadsticks were baked and back at our house there was a knock at the door. There were three of my cute neighbor boys wondering if they could have one of my homemade bread sticks. Who could resist this face?!
There were plenty to share and I sent the 3 boys off with their breadsticks! Katie – if you are reading this post don’t be upset with “D”. I loved that he felt comfortable enough to come to my door to ask!
Dinner was a success and yummy. A quick and easy dish to prepare. It would also make a great dish when you need to take dinner to someone else.
The addition of spinach and pesto makes this a little unique as far as baked ziti dishes go. The pesto gives it a wonderful flavor and I was able to use some of the pesto I had made and frozen this summer!
The recipe makes a full 9 x 13 pan and thanks to our two dinner guests there wasn’t much left. I was grateful they were there to help so we didn’t have to eat it for leftovers all week!
After it is all mixed up and put in the pan just pop it in to bake. It is always a hit and is a perfect dish to make when you are taking dinner into a family.
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages
- ½ C chopped onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
- ¼ C pesto
- 10 ounces ziti or penne pasta (about 3 cups), freshly cooked
- 4 cups or hand fulls of baby spinach leaves
- 6 ounces grated or cubed mozzarella cheese
- 1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is cooked through
- Add tomatoes with juices
- Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes
- Add pesto
- Season sauce with salt and pepper
- You can prepare up to this point a day ahead and refrigerate
- Bring mixture back to simmer before continuing
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish.
- Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl.
- Stir in warm hot tomato mixture.
- Place in prepared baking dish
- Sprinkle remaining ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese over
- Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes
- Inspired by Epciurious