Monday, November 28, 2011

A Timeless Classic: Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is one of those dishes that is always good.  I enjoy making it because it is easy and ever so tasty.  This version has two kinds of meat, a rich tomato sauce with a hint of  spiciness,  and four delicious types of cheese.  You can't go wrong with cheese in my book.   This recipe feeds 10 so it is perfect to take to potlucks, a holiday office party, and other get-togethers.  It also makes a great family meal.

If you have a busy week ahead, you can make the dish on the weekend and  put in the fridge or freezer (do not bake).  Just bring it to room temperature and bake as instructed.

                                                         Baked Ziti


4-1/2 cups Meat Sauce, divided (recipe follows)
1pound ziti or penne pasta
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese - divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese - divided
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese - divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


1. Prepare Meat Sauce.  Let cool for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3 Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
4. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch-baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1 ½ cups meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
5. Dot the surface of the sauce with half of the ricotta cheese.
6. Mix the cooked pasta with 1 cup of the meat sauce.  Add 1-cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup pecorino Romano cheese, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and mix well.
7. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta.
8. Dot the pasta with the remaining ricotta cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, and Parmesan cheese over the top of the ziti.
9. Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is browned and bubbly.

Serves 10

Meat Sauce:


2 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound ground beef
½ pound Sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1-teaspoon salt
1 Bay leaf
1-teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


1. Pour the olive oil in large heavy bottomed pot.  When the oil is hot add the ground beef and Sweet Italian sausage.  Brown the meat over medium heat breaking up any large chunks of meat.
2.  Add the onion and stir well.   Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and Italian Seasoning.  Stir to combine.
3.Cook about 2 minutes.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir well.
5.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours stirring occasionally.  For a thicker sauce, remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
6. Remove the bay leaf.  The sauce is ready to use.

The Yummy Sauce

Thin Layer of Sauce in Baking Dish

Sauce Dotted With Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

Pasta Tossed With Meat Sauce

Pasta  In Baking Dish 

Ready For The Oven

Baked Ziti

MMM Good:)

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