Saturday, February 7, 2015

Baked Ziti

Pasta coated in a rich meat sauce and tossed with three different cheeses.  Baked until bubbly.  When you bite into this delicious dish your taste buds go into overdrive. This dish is perfect for large crowds, pot lucks, family dinners, or just for your family.  It comes together nicely and is easy to make.

Ziti pasta ( you can use penne) is cooked, drained and tossed with a ricotta cheese mixture.  Then some cooled  tomato sauce is mixed in.  The mixture is then placed in a large casserole dish and layered with the remaining cheese and sauce.  Put in the oven and bake until bubbly - about 30 minutes.  If you wish you can also make this dish ahead of time.  Store it in the fridge and bring to room temperature and baked accordingly.  This recipe serves 12.

Baked Ziti
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound Italian Sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) jar Marinara Sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
16-ounces Ziti pasta
1 (15-ounce) carton Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
6 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg
Cooking Spray

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until starting to soften.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add the Italian Sausage and ground beef.  Cook until browned.  Drain off some of the fat - not all.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes, the Marinara Sauce, basil, oregano, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes.  Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Remove the bay leaf.
4. Remove 3 cups of the sauce and set aside.  Let the sauce cool for about 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Cook pasta according to package directions for Al Dente.  Drain and rinse under cool water.
7. While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and  egg.
8. Pour the drained pasta into the cheese mixture.  Toss the pasta to combine.  Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.

8. Spray a 15x10x2- inch baking dish (4 quart oblong) lightly with cooking spray.  Add half of the coated pasta to the baking dish.  Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half of the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.

9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbling.  Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 servings


  1. Ingredient-wise, this sounds a lot like lasagna--but way easier. Love comforting, homey casseroles in winter. This is a must try. :-)

  2. look absolutely delicious!! Love comfort food!!