October 15, 2012

Celebrating National Pasta Day with Classico {recipe: Classico Spinach and Parmesan Baked Ziti}

Did you know that October 17th is National Pasta Day?  Well you are in luck if you didn't know it, because you've still got time to plan to enjoy a fabulous pasta dish that day!

When I was asked if I would create a Classico Creation using one of their new Seasonal pasta sauces... well, this pasta lover couldn't say no! 

Classico-Spinach-and-Parmesan-Baked-Ziti-Plated

This time of year lends itself to warm, gooey, baked pasta dishes like this one.  My Husband has always loved baked ziti... but, this time we had a new sauce to use to add a twist to a traditional dish.

The Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Sauce is only available for a limited time, so you won't want to miss out on giving it a try (check out my giveaway at the end of this post!).  At first glance it appears to be the usual marinara sauce... but, don't just pass it by because it's creamier and has the bonus of spinach and Parmesan cheese which adds to the richness of the flavor.

Now, I do have to come clean on who actually made this dinner... it was My Husband!  After a really busy day at work, and an evening that needed to be dedicated to homework and various school projects he offerred to make it all happen.  And, he did a fabulous job!


Classico Spinach and Parmesan Baked Ziti

Ingredients
  • 1 pound package ziti, uncooked
  • 4 ounces (2 links) sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 jar Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Remove sausage from casings and add to skillet; breaking up into smaller pieces as it cooks. Once browned, drain.
  4. Add spaghetti sauce to the sausage and simme for 10 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and seasonings.
  6. Toss hot pasta with meat sauce.
  7. In a 10x9x3-inch baking dish (you could also use a 13x9x2-inch baking dish, but will need to adjust the baking time), add half of the pasta mixture; then layer the cheese mixture on top. Layer with remaining pasta and sprinkle the remaing cup of mozzarella cheese on top.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and baking an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Updated to remove giveaway details since it has been closed. 

Note: In the spirit of full-disclosure, I've partnered with Classico and received product, coupons, premium items and reader giveaway coupons as part of my participation. However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own

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