Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Boil Baked Ziti with Sausage and Basil

     I'm always on the hunt for no boil baked pasta recipes, when you're camping or cooking outdoors it's so much easier to toss everything in your dutch oven and let it bake.  I added Italian sausage and fresh basil to this recipe from Ragu but you can easily omit them and still have a tasty dinner.  If you don't feel like browning the sausage, slice up some pre-cooked sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and toss that in instead.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the pasta baked for a total of 55 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 28-30 spaced evenly on the lid.  This is a dish that needs no tending, however, before you add the final topping of mozzarella, give the pasta a good stir to help the cheese distribute evenly.  This is pretty darned good for such a simple meal, the ziti was tender, not overly dry and the sausage gave it some heft, a definite campfire keeper.

No Boil Baked Ziti with Sausage and Basil
1 jar (1 lb 8 oz) pasta sauce
2 cups water
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (about 8 oz)
2 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz uncooked ziti pasta
1 lb. Italian sausage
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Remove Italian sausage from casings, crumble and cook over medium heat until browned and cooked through; drain on paper towels.
     Combine pasta sauce and water in large bowl.
     Stir in ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, then uncooked ziti.
     Add sausage and fresh basil, stir until well combined.
     Evenly pour ziti mixture into prepared oven, making sure all of the pasta is completely submerged.
     Bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees.
     Stir pasta and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
     Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 servings.

Pour ziti mixture into prepared dutch oven making
sure pasta is completely submerged in sauce

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes

Give pasta a stir before adding final topping of cheese

A simple and hearty one pot rustic dinner 


  1. how do you clean your cast iron pan, I have read some say just use a scrub brush and warm water and others say soap and water and then re oil if needed? So far I use aluminum liners as it is so easy to toss them away - I only use my oven when we camp and not every day so it isn't inconvenient to do that

  2. Hi Karen, I am all for using liners when camping, anything to make clean up easier, especially where you don't have access to running water. At home I spray my ovens well with vegetable oil cooking spray before using to prevent food from sticking. Afterwards I swish them with one tiny drop of detergent, hot water and lightly go over the inside with a plastic scrubber or sometimes a brush if there is spot of cheese that won't come off. If there is something like caramel that requires a lot of elbow grease, rather than risk damaging the seasoning, I boil water in the tea kettle, pour it in the oven to loosen whatever is on there and remove it with a brush. I saw the president of Lodge on t.v. saying it's perfectly fine to quickly rinse your cast iron with a little dish soap. So far that has worked for me. When camping I'll boil water on my camp stove and rinse out my oven that way or if I've used a liner, just wipe it out with a damp dish towel until I get home. I never oil my ovens after cooking, always before. If you store them with the lid slightly ajar with a piece of paper towel coming out of the oven, that wicks away the moisture and should prevent any odors from occurring. I think the best thing for cast iron is to use it often. All my ovens came pre-seasoned and I haven't had any problems so far. Hope this helps, Liddy

  3. thanks so much for the reply. I do put several paper towels between the lid and the pan when storing after use and happy to hear it is ok to use a little soap now and then - I was getting a couple comments from others indicating I wasn't using it right. I had read the lodge booklet that came with my pan and thought I was doing ok but thought I would check.

  4. For what it's worth, the folks at Camp Chef (I own their 12" dutch oven) suggest applying a thin film of oil inside and out before storing, also keeping the lid ajar.

  5. Great recipe, Liddy! I love the ones where you don't have to boil the pasta! Fall is perfect time of year for baked pasta dishes. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Thanks Becky, always happy to share a good recipe, Liddy

  7. It's what's for dinner tonight

    1. Hope your dinner was a success! Liddy

  8. I made this last week for the family and it was a big hit. Then made it again this weekend for the leaders on the Boy Scout camping trip. Everyone enjoyed it, and most had seconds. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. So glad to hear you have had good luck with the recipe, thanks so much for your feedback, happy cooking! Liddy

  9. For instance you can now have electric hook up in your tent, meaning you can take conventional electrical items on your camping trip such as a kettle or toaster. coghlan's cast iron cooker