- 12 oz ziti pasta (or penne if you can’t find ziti)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- fresh basil, for garnish
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 9×13 casserole dish lightly with oil.
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil, and then add the ground beef and Italian sausage. Brown the meat, breaking it up as it cooks.
- When the meat has browned, add in the minced garlic, diced onion, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion starts to become tender.
- Next, add the dried bay leaf and marinara sauce to the pot and stir until well combined. Lower the heat to low, cover, and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the pasta.
- To prepare the pasta: bring a large pot of water with 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions for al dente, stirring occasionally. When the pasta is finished cooking, use a colander to drain it and then add to your prepared casserole dish.
- Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and pour over the pasta in the casserole dish. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until the pasta and sauce are well combined.
- Top the pasta with mozzarella cheese. Cover the pasta with foil and bake for 20 minutes until sauce is bubbly around the sides of the casserole dish. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown.
- Garnish with fresh basil before serving and enjoy!
Optional: add 3 cups fresh, chopped spinach to the sauce before pouring it over the pasta
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