If you like you can just mix the tomato sauce and pasta and serve as is instead of baking it with the mozzarella cheese. Refrigerate any leftovers in a casserole dish and then the next day you can just top with some shredded mozzarella. Pop it in the oven, covered with foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until pasta and sauce are hot. Take off the foil and put the pasta under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese is all bubbly and golden. Easy – two meals in one!
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or sauce pot. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add dried herbs, if using. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until sauce has thickened and flavour has developed to your liking. Stir in fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. F.
Meanwhile cook ziti in boiling salted water, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add rapini and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or cook until pasta is firm to the bite. Drain pasta and rapini. Transfer to large casserole dish. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until cheese is all bubbly and golden. Yield: 8 servings.