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Baked Ziti with Sausage and Bechamel

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8
LaughingSpatula.com

Ingredients

  • For Bechamel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (trust me this really brings out the flavor of the sauce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For Pasta and Sauce
  • 1 pound sausage - I used Isnerio's chicken sausage but pork is fine too
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 2 - 26 oz jars pasta sauce (I like to use marinara. Avoid beef or sausage flavored variety's they tend to be really salty and have an 'odd flavor'...not good).
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Add both jars of Marinara sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  4. Nonstick spray a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. While sauce is simmering, prepare the Bechmel
  6. Bechmel:
  7. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Always stirring, gradually add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
  8. Toss ziti with sauce and sausage mixture. Pour into prepared 9x13 baking dish. Pour bechamel over pasta and smooth out with the back of a spoon.
  9. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbly and hot in the center.