Classic Italian comfort food, Million Dollar Baked Ziti, is reminiscent of lasagna but effortless to throw together. This is a great family weeknight dinner and doubles easily for a crowd.
MILLION DOLLAR BAKED ZITI
I loaded this pasta with sausage. As well, I added cream cheese and cottage cheese which makes it ultra-creamy and gives it a lasagna-like flavor. The rich tomato sauce is made from scratch with tomatoes and tomato sauce. However, to save time you can use a 24-ounce jar of your favorite tomato sauce.
You’re going to want to bookmark this recipe. It’s a staple in my house that everyone loves. It’s easy to make, you can make it in advance and bake it later.
REFRIGERATE OR FREEZE
As well, it freezes nicely. (I like to portion leftovers in individual servings and freeze. It will keep in the freezer for 6 to 8 weeks.)
To reheat individual frozen portions, place the ziti on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a wet paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on medium power for 3 minutes, test, and repeat if necessary.
To reheat individual refrigerated portions, place the ziti on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a wet paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on full power for 90 seconds, test, and repeat if necessary.
To reheat a large amount, first make sure the container is microwave-safe. Cover the dish with a wet paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on 75% power for 4 to 5 minutes depending on the amount. Test the center and microwave again in necessary.
MILLION DOLLAR BAKED ZITI INGREDIENTS
There are really no specialty ingredients in this recipe. Italian sausage may be the only ingredient that you may not already have on hand. Further, you can totally use breakfast pork sausage if you want.
- Pasta. You can use any shape of pasta.
- Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. You can use spaghetti sauce to save time.
- Cottage cheese. You can use ricotta but it’s more expensive so I usually go with cottage cheese.
- Parmesan cheese. I highly recommend you always grate your own Parmesan cheese and don’t use the powdery stuff.
- Coconut sugar. I use sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. You can use granulated sugar or omit the sugar.
More recipes you’ll enjoy!
- Tomato Cream Sauce Sausage Gnocchi
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- Pasta Meatball Soup Recipe
- Skinny Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup
- Beefy Tomato Soup Recipe
- Chicken Pot Pie Lasagna Soup Recipe
- Healthy Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chicken Soup
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Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on the products used.
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Million Dollar Baked Ziti
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- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 2 pounds Italian sausage
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 28 ounces tomato sauce
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 16 ounces cottage cheese
- 1 and ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package. However, cook it for 2 minutes less than instructed. Drain, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to prevent from sticking together.
- Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, stir the cream cheese, cottage cheese, 1 cup Parmesan, and 1 cup Mozzarella together.
- Add the pasta and 1 cup of tomato sauce to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Take care not to break up the pasta. Pour into your 9x13-inch pan.
- Top with the remaining tomato sauce, then 1 cup mozzarella, then the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil (be careful steam will release) and return the dish to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the oven. Allow it to cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving. It will be very hot. Top with fresh basil before serving.