Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage


      • 3/4 lbs. uncooked turkey sausage, spicy-variety, casings removed

      • 1 medium onion, chopped

      • 1 medium green peppers, chopped

      • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

      • 10-oz. frozen green peas, thawed

      • 2 Tbsp canned tomato paste

      • 1 tsp dried oregano

      • 1 tsp dried basil

      • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

      • 1/2 tsp fennel seed

      • 1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste

      • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

      • 12 oz. uncooked whole-wheat pasta, ziti, cooked according to package directions

      • 6 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

      Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

      Crumble sausage meat into a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 4 minutes.

      Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

      Stir in tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel
      seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook
      uncovered 5 minutes, stirring often.

      Stir in cooked pasta and half the cheese. Spread evenly into a 9x13-inch baking pan. Top evenly with remaining cheese.

      Bake until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbling, about 20
      minutes. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing into 8