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BAKED ZITI AND ITALIAN SAUSAGE
CASSEROLE
 
1/2 pkg. (1 lb. size) ziti macaroni
2 tbsp. salad oil
1/2 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage (links)

SAUCE:

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 c. milk
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

CHEESE LAYER:

1 carton (1 lb.) cream style cottage cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated
Paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook ziti macaroni according to package directions in lightly salted water; drain thoroughly. Heat oil in a small skillet over moderately high heat. Add sausage and cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently until browned. Remove from heat.

2. Prepare Sauce: Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan; remove from heat. Add flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and when smooth, bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring constantly.

3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Put drained ziti into a large bowl; pour on cheese sauce and toss to combine using a small sharp knife, cut sausage diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside.

4. Make Cheese Layers: In a medium-size bowl, mix cottage cheese with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, chopped parsley, salt and pepper; mix well. Spoon half of the ziti-macaroni-cheese sauce mixture into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish or casserole.

5. Spread cottage cheese mixture on top and then spoon on remaining macaroni mixture. Arrange slice sausage on top, tucking slices partially under ziti macaroni. Sprinkle casserole with grated Mozzarella cheese and paprika.

6. Place on center rack of oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and macaroni is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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