Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Baked Ziti With Lamb Sausage (and Details on Tomorrow's Upcoming Giveaway)

Baked ziti is one of my favorite pasta dishes, so it is time to share this dish with my readers.  I actually prepared the baked ziti on Thursday evening, but I took a day off of writing on Friday.  This baked ziti has a twist in that I like to incorporate some kind of sausage.  I have prepared this dish with either lamb sausage  or chicken sausage.  Both are delicious combinations with the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, although this recipe was prepared exclusively with the lamb sausage.    In addition, I made my baked ziti with a homemade pasta sauce.  I discovered that taking photos of baked ziti is quite challenging because it is a very messy looking dish, inherently.  Thus, I attempted to "dress it up" for the picture with some artfully positioned basil leaves.  Finally, baked ziti is notoriously unhealthy, but I have attempted to reduce this by using skim milk ricotta cheese.  You could also use lowfat mozzarella, but this takes a bit of the pizazz and flavor out of the dish (and really, completely lowfat wouldn't be as much fun, right?)  This dish is a classic in my home - messy to prepare but not too difficult, and always satisfying.

Sasha's Baked Ziti With Lamb Sausage

1 box ziti noodles (1 lb)
1 lb fresh lamb sausage (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
 2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup red cooking wine
16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (sliced or torn into small pieces)
15 oz skim milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

Cook the pasta and set aside.  Saute the lamb sausages and set aside. In a pot, combine the tomatoes, seasonings, garlic and red wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for about twenty minutes until the sauce comes to the proper consistency.  In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.

Next, spoon about half a cup of sauce into your lasagna pan.  I have an Emile Henry blue lasagna dish that I absolutely love.   I must confess that I have a fascination, almost an obsession with pretty solid color cookware - both Le Creuset and Emile Henry.  Next, layer the pasta, then the cheese mixture, then the sausage, then repeat with another layer of sauce, pasta and cheese.  Top with some remaining sauce and sprinkle with the half cup of  parmesan cheese.  Bake covered with a piece of tin foil for thirty minutes at 350 F.  Then take off the tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

I have a giveaway that I am going to introduce tomorrow of some exciting cupcake necklaces.  The giveaway will be open to my followers on google blogger and to my facebook fans, so please sign up as a follower (check the sidebar) and a facebook fan (top of the sidebar) to win a lovely glass cupcake necklace from New York designer Moon & Star Designs.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for details on how to win!


  1. Your ziti looks awesome! Ooey-gooey and so delicious! It is a hard dish to photo - but yours turned out great.

  2. I recently made a similar baked ziti with a different kind of sausage and I would strongly recommend removing the sausage from its casing in smallish chunks, browning them and then adding to the sauce as it cooks - it will become permeated with the spices from the sausage and boost the flavor of the overall dish. Also, it may sound counter-intuitive, but I have found fresh mozzarella to be kind of unstable and watery when cooked like this, a decent-quality "brick" of the cheese seems to melt more pleasingly (although it may depend on the type of fresh mozzarella used).

  3. That's a good point - I did actually remove the casing of the lamb sausage when I prepared it . . . Although some types of lamb sausage where I buy it fresh comes without the casing entirely.

  4. You know, I love pasta bakes, but this is one of the few things I steer clear of in the kitchen (save tuna casserole). Mine always seem a bit dry. This looks great though. Where's the salad???

  5. I really love ziti! Your ziti looks absolutely beautiful and tasty. I noticed in the ingredients you add red wine. Delicious!

  6. Wow. This dish looks divine and incredibly satisfying.
    I like your blog. And we happen to share the same name and location ; )


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