Disclaimer; As a member of Allrecipes Allstars I participated in the Johnsonville campaign. I was sent coupons to help cover the cost of my chosen recipe. The views expressed here are entirely my own.
Baked Ziti with Johnsonville Italian Sausage. What words come to mind after reading that? Hearty, stick to your ribs? Those were my words and the reason why I chose this recipe to rate and review. The added bonus was that leftovers were even better. The combination of ziti, Johnsonville Italian sausage, eggplant, Kalmatta olives, plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh basil, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese was the perfect blend of flavors.
Our granddaughter Gabbi is the ultimate picky eater and I was worried that she wouldn’t eat it because of the eggplant. She devoured this and I don’t think she noticed the eggplant at all. The recipe does call for a half cup of red wine but don’t worry about the dish tasting like alcohol. It only adds another layer of flavor to the dish. However, if you have any reservations about cooking with wine you can substitute beef broth. Should you decide to add the wine be sure and add a wine that you would drink. Subpar wine will give you subpar results.
- 1 (19 ounce) package Johnsonville® Fresh Italian Sweet Sausage Links, casings removed
- 3 TBS olive oil, divided
- 12 oz ziti pasta
- 1 small eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed plum tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1TBS of oil over medium heat.
- Remove sausage from links, crumble and cook until no longer pink and lightly browned.
- Drain and transfer into a large mixing bowl, then prepare ziti according to package directions.
- Drain and rinse ziti with cold water, cover and set aside.
- Using the same skillet, heat 1 TBS of oil over medium-high heat.
- Add eggplant and cook until tender and lightly browned, then transfer to bowl with sausage.
- Using the same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic, sauté until tender.
- Pour wine into skillet, increase heat to medium-high and continue to stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- To the bowl with the sausage mixture, add cooked pasta, basil, olives, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine ingredients.
- Transfer mixture to a greased 3-quart baking dish.
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until lightly browned.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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