- This recipe is a combination of many versions I've tried over the years. It's one of my kids' favorites. This freezes really well too. I bake it, let it cool, then freeze. When ready to serve, thaw in refrigerator and heat to warm through.
This recipe is prepared with the NuWave Pro Plus 8-in-1 Digital Oven (K42840).
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage (I buy the patties, it's easier to crumble them into the pan)
- 1 (14.5-oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (24.5-oz) jar of your favorite marinara or 3 cups homemade sauce
- 1 (14.5-oz) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb ziti, cooked al dente and drained
- 1-1/2 lbs grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 (15-oz) tub Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- Heat the olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they start to soften. (Don't let the garlic burn or it will be bitter.) Add the sausage and ground beef, crumble, and cook until brown. Drain off the fat. Add the tomato sauce, marinara sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take about half of the sauce and place it in a large bowl to cool. In a separate bowl, add 2 cups of the Mozzarella, all the Ricotta and Parmesan, as well as the eggs. Season with salt and pepper again, if desired. Stir gently together just a few times; do not completely combine. Add the drained pasta to the cheese mixture and toss lightly. Add the reserved cooled meat sauce to the pasta mixture and toss to combine.
- Add half of the pasta mixture to a deep casserole dish or 13" x 9" baker. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the pasta mixture in the pan, then top with half of the leftover Mozzarella. Add the remaining pasta mixture, follow with the remaining sauce, and end with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.