Somehow, this recipe has become my default “charity dish.” If I know someone who’s recovering from surgery or a loss in the family, I’ve been preparing this as a token of friendship. It’s an enjoyable meal on a cold day as well, and reheats well in the microwave. I’ve been making this for at least ten years, and it’s always been a hit at home, as an alternative to lasagna.
Before you begin, gather the following ingredients and dishes:
1 box of ziti (can be substituted with another pasta of your choice, such as rotini)
2 jars of pasta sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (2 pounds if you desire)
1 green bell pepper, sliced (optional)
1/2 medium onion, sliced (optional)
Small amount of cooking oil
1 large frying pan
1 large sauce pan
1 large rectangular baking dish
Boil the pasta in the sauce pan until it is soft, then drain. Cut the sausage into 1-inch segments, and brown them in the frying pan with the oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with pasta sauce, and then add the boiled pasta, green peppers, onions, and sausage. Make sure all ingredients are distributed evenly throughout. Add 1/2 of the cheese, again distributed evenly. Add the remaining pasta sauce to your liking (you may need more or less than the 2 jars in the recipe). Cover with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown. Serves 8-10.