I have a secret. I’ve never made a non-lasagna baked pasta dish (with the exception of the kale mac & cheese I made a few weeks ago). It’s weird, actually, given how much my diet has relied on pasta over the past decade. I think it’s because that just seems like too much work—I mean, the reason I love pasta is because I can cook it quickly, toss it with any kind of sauce or veggies, and have a meal on the table in 15 minutes. Baking just seems unnecessary. I also haven’t loved much baked pasta at restaurants…they always seem so dry.
Needless to say, I approached this baked ziti recipe with some trepidation. But I was shocked by how GOOD it was! Delicious, great, bold flavors, a whole host of textures, and hearty enough to keep me feeling full for hours.
The original recipe was vegetarian, and didn’t call for the chicken sausage. But I had some on-hand and I’ve been crazily craving protein so I decided it couldn’t hurt. And it actually added an awesome flavor to everything.
It’s important to note, I doubled the recipe (or thereabouts) to make a 9×13 pan, because only cooking half the package of pasta didn’t make a lot of sense to me. That way I had lots of leftovers to feed me through the work week. It made possibly a bit too much pasta, but otherwise worked out just fine.