Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Last Sunday we had these cute boys over for dinner again.

Elder Stanley

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 tomatoes.

Since we were having guests I decided to kick it up a notch and mixed up a batch of Melanie’s amazing Divine Breadsticks and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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?!Halloweenie Roast

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.

Pasta

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!
Pasta

The recipe makes a full 9 x 13 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!

baked ziti - Page 381

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 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

Instructions

  • 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 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl.
  • Stir in warm hot tomato mixture.
  • Place in prepared baking dish
  • Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over
  • Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes
  • Inspired by Epciurious

Comments

  1. 1
    Valerie H. says:

    I love seeing the missionaries at your house. They look so happy and the food looks so good! Happy belated birthday to Cali. Wow, 20 years old! She looks like a fun loving and confident girl. Go Cali and many blessings to you!

  2. 2

    I have a skillet recipe similar to this that I love so I can’t wait to try this.

  3. 3
    katie says:

    The ziti looks great! Kind of like the America’s Test Kitchen recipe – except baked.
    D could not stand how good our house smelled – he had to come get a bread stick! Thanks for welcoming him – he feels very comfortable swinging on by anytime, eh?

  4. 4
    April says:

    This looks really delicious! I’m pretty new to the whole cooking scene…what is pesto? How do I make it, or where do I buy it? I really want to try this recipe. The missionaries looked very happy to be at your house!

    • 4.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      April,
      Pesto is made out of basil but you can purchase it at the grocery store too. It is usually in the produce area in a jar. It is a combo of basil, olive oil, pine nuts – yum!! Have fun with your cooking!! Recipes for pesto are pretty easily available. You can check http://www.allrecipes.com. I’ll have to post my recipe for pesto too! Thanks!

  5. 5
    Cheryl says:

    I always offer the missionaries bottled water, food and my restroom when they stop by. We are not Latter Day Saints but part of my family and many of my friends are.

    I am so grateful to people like you who have opened up their homes and made my family members and friends feel comfortable when they were so far from home!

    • 5.1
      cody says:

      Thank you! as a return missionary we always appreciated people who were kind to us! It is far more appreciated then you could know-especially the water on a hot day! : D

  6. 6
    Cassie says:

    Mmmm looks so yummy! I bet the cookies were great too, I just love a good chocolate chip cookie (or five).

    How generous of you to share your food with neighbours!

  7. 7
    Emmy says:

    This recipe sounds and looks delicious! This reminds me I need to invite the missionaries over for dinner. Thanks for sharing another yummy dinner!

  8. 8
    Melanie says:

    Hey, we feed THOSE guys all the time, too (ok, not THOSE particular guys but you know what I mean). Pasta and breadsticks is the only way to go when feeding 19-ish year old boys. I’m glad you liked the breadsticks and it is so sweet (and funny) that your neighbor boys came begging for one or two. Also, the pasta looks absolutely delicious!

  9. 9
    Miranda says:

    Thanks do much for sharing this recipe I made it last night for my family and we all LOVED it. It was so delicious and pretty simple too! I will definately make this again. I love getting comments like “This tastes like something you’d order at an expensive resturant”! Thanks for helping me look like a superstar in the kitchen!

  10. 10
    Loretta says:

    Fixed the baked ziti tonight and it was wonderful!! Definitely one we will have again. Felt like I was eating at a quality Italian restaurant. :) I even made my own pesto for the first time, but I used a weight watchers recipe that was very low in fat. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. 11
    vickie says:

    Wow, Leigh Anne, that dish sounds wonderful and perfect for these cold days.
    Let’s get together next week when I’m over my cold thing! I didn’t realize Cali is a month older than Katie.

  12. 12
    Lory says:

    Leigh Anne – I made this ziti recipe last night and it was such a hit! Jenny went back for seconds, which is pretty unusual. I forgot to get pesto so made it without it and it was still delicious. I also used Trader Joe’s sicilian chicken sausage and it tasted wonderful, and maybe a tiny bit healthier? Thank you once again for sharing what will become another family favorite!

  13. 13
    Stephanie says:

    I made this for dinner tonight – wow! It was delicious and I have plenty left over for lunches this week. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  14. 14
    Heather says:

    Wow this is beautiful food photography! My dinner photos always come out less than stellar. Any tips? I’m going to try this recipe this week.

  15. 15

    We love your “meal for many” with an extra kick of flavor and sophistication. The pesto as a layer of additional flavor is genius. We’re sure your guests left hoping for another invitation to dine at your place!

  16. 16
    Kina says:

    I tried your recipe tonight and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! It got rave reviews from the family and is definitely a keeper. Thanks!!!

  17. 17
    Erica says:

    Made this last night – for the missionaries – and it was a hit! It was delish and will definitely become a staple on our family’s dinner menu :)

  18. 18
    Elizabeth says:

    This is a good recipe. It appeared in Bon Appetit in November 1994.

  19. 19
    Kristina says:

    Looks fantastic – thanks for sharing this! I am forwarding it to my boyfriend’s mother..I’m sure it’ll make amazing dinner one of these nights.
    Kristina recently posted..Image of the Day: How far we’ve come

  20. 20
    Darlene Mason says:

    I have made this several times since finding it on your site. we love it! So easy and delicious!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage I didn’t have ziti so I used medium shells, better to hold onto the sauce in my opinion, and I used one can diced tomatoes, one small can tomato sauce and about one cup of left over alfredo sauce. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)New recipe reviews on the wayRecipe RoundupDisaster Strikes Again! [...]

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