Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers

Skillet Baked Ziti

Please ignore the fact that I didn't actually use ziti for this dish...

 This might be the perfect one-dish meal. It’s warm, comforting, covered in cheese, and quick to prepare. I love traditional baked ziti, but this skillet version appealed to me for its simplicity and ease of clean-up – and it was a success on both counts. Mike and I both loved this meal, and it worked perfectly for a weeknight dinner. The sausage adds flavor and makes the dish very hearty and filling, and the peppers make you think this dish is at least the tiniest bit healthy (that is, if you can ignore the sausage, cheese, and heavy cream…). For being so quick and easy, this skillet baked ziti has a great fresh tomato flavor and I actually think it tastes better than the traditional casserole. This will definitely be making another appearance on our dinner table in the coming months!

Skillet Baked Ziti

Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers

Yield: Serves 4


1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups water
8 oz (2 1/2 cups) ziti
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 oz (1/2 cup) parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup choppped fresh basil leaves
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely chopped and no large pieces remain, 6-8 pulses. Set aside.

Cook the sausage in a 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the processed tomatoes and simmer gently until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the water, ziti, bell pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and simmer vigorously, stirring often, until the pasta is just tender, 14-17 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the cream, Parmesan, and basil an season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and browned, 10-15 minutes.

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  1. Love this idea, Megan. As “winter” is on the horizon (although it was 77 here today!), these meals are a favorite and I can’t wait to try this one. Did you end up using tri-colored rotini pasta? Looks wonderful.

  2. Comfort food is right – anything with sausage and cheese is high on my comfort list, but with pasta added I could not resist it. 😀

  3. Fall weather has set in here, at last. I am going to make a pasta baked dish within days. Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. This looks delicious and perfect now that the weather is getting cold!

  5. I can’t tell you how amazing this looks. Just glancing at the pictures makes me want to cook it. However, the only thing in my pantry that is remotely close to this is Spaghettios.

    Thank you so much for sharing!


  6. Cheese and sausage in pasta…yes, please, I’ll take the entire casserole dish!

  7. This looks so yummy and comforting!! Perfect for fall dinner.

  8. i love the sound of this. i’ve been into italian sausage lately and this looks like a winner!

  9. This looks yyyyyyyuuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyy! We just ordered a pig this past summer and I’ve been trying to find meals worthy of using such expensive and special sausage. This may just be *the* recipe that is worth it. 🙂

  10. Yum! This is the perfect fall and winter meal. I’m such a sucker for any pasta made with sausage….yum!

  11. This pasta does lool pretty perfect. May have to give it a try for dinner tonight.

  12. Oh yum!!! This pasta looks soooo good and comforting. 🙂 I wish I had this for dinner tonight!

  13. Megan, my husband played baseball with Mike at GCC. I just made this dish and Justin says it is one of the best new meals we’ve had in a long time. Thank you for sharing!!

  14. I have made this dish twice to rave reviews!! My only shortcut is buying the canned tomatoes already chopped and skipping the food processor part. I hate doing dishes! I share it with everyone as a tasty one pot meal. Great dish Megan!!

  15. This is really, really good! It’s one of my new favorites…and my husband’s! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  16. I made this last Friday and it’s fantastic!! And so super easy. A great winter meal (I live in Australia so it’s winter here!). I didn’t even wait to bake it, just added the parmesan and ate it from the skillet 🙂

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