Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

baked ziti with italian sausage and eggplant

★★★★★ 3
a recipe by
Angela Hardesty
Colorado Springs, CO

Awesome dish!

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Baked ziti is delicious with layers of marinara, pasta, and cheese. This recipe uses a homemade Italian sausage meat sauce that's hearty and perfectly seasoned. We love adding pan-fried eggplant to the layers. The eggplant and pasta absorb the meat sauces Italian flavor. Super cheesy, serve this baked ziti with garlic bread for a tasty family meal.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 3
serves 5-6
prep time 30 Min
cook time 30 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For baked ziti with italian sausage and eggplant

  • 1 lg
    eggplant, sliced into about 1/3 inch thick circles
  • 1/2 c
    olive oil (plus more)
  • 1 lb
    Italian sausage, hot or mild
  • 1 c
    chopped onion
  • 1 can
    Italian style tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp
    tomato paste
  • 1 tsp
    Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tbsp
  • 4 Tbsp
    all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp
    cruhed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz
    cooked ziti, drained
  • 2 c
  • 1 c
    shredded mozzarella
  • 1/8 tsp
  • 1/2 c
    shredded/grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c
    basil, dried or 1/2 c fresh basil minced

How To Make baked ziti with italian sausage and eggplant

  • Spraying a casserole dish with non-stick spray.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.
  • Heating oil in a skillet.
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup of the oil.
  • Pan-frying the eggplant and seasoning.
    Add the eggplant in batches, seasoning on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, adding more oil as needed.
  • Pan-fried eggplant on paper towels.
    Transfer to a plate when each batch is done.
  • Oil, Italian sausage, and onions added to a skillet.
    Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot but not smoking, add the onion and sausage.
  • Browning the sausage and onions.
    Cook, stirring until the sausage is browned and the onion is soft about 6 minutes.
  • Adding tomato paste to the browned meat.
    Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown.
  • Tomatoes and seasonings added to the browned meat.
    Add the tomatoes, their juices, the Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the crushed red pepper.
  • Sauce simmering on the stove.
    Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the flavors marry and the sauce slightly thickens, about 20 minutes.
  • Adding basil to the meat sauce.
    Remove from the heat. Add the basil and adjust seasoning, to taste.
  • Cooking flour and butter.
    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and forms a light roux, about 2 minutes.
  • Whisking in milk.
    Whisk in the milk and, whisking frequently, cook until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 4 minutes.
  • Nutmeg, salt, and pepper added to the sauce.
    Remove from the heat and season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Layer of eggplant added to the baking dish.
    Arrange half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of the casserole, overlapping as necessary.
  • Half the ziti and meat sauce layered in the casserole dish.
    Top with half of the cooked pasta; then half of the sausage-tomato sauce.
  • Another layer of eggplant added to the casserole dish.
    Place another layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce.
  • Another layer of ziti and meat sauce added to the casserole dish.
    Then layers of pasta and sausage-tomato sauce.
  • White sauce poured on the meat sauce.
    Pour on the white sauce.
  • Grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
    Then top with the grated mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Baked Ziti With Italian Sausage and Eggplant baked until golden brown.
    Bake for 35 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown on top.