The Best Baked Ziti

Before we start let’s set some ground rules:

  1. Mozzarella is pronounced ‘MUTZ-a-dell’.
  2. Ricotta is pronounced ‘rih-GOTT’.

This isn’t really Italian but 4 out of 5 people in New York/New Jersey with at least one family member named Sonny like to think it is.

The Best Baked Ziti
Print Recipe
From www.sharongreen.me
Servings Prep Time
12 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
The Best Baked Ziti
Print Recipe
From www.sharongreen.me
Servings Prep Time
12 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 lb italian sausage
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 14.5 oz cans tomato or marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning (translation: blend of basil, oregano, parsley flakes, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16 oz can ziti
  • 1 15 oz contaier whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • fresh minced parsley optional
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes until starting to soften.
  2. Add Italian sausage and ground beef, cook until browned. Drain off most of the fat but leave a little behind because that's what makes things delicious.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Fill another large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes as you want it barely cooked since it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool it down and stop the cooking process.
  7. In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir it all together but don't mix it completely. Just a little.
  8. Pour the drained pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss lightly - you want large chunks of ricotta to remain. Add the cooled meat sauce and toss a little more to combine.
  9. Take a ladle-full of sauce and spread it on the bottom of your casserole dish, this helps keep it all from sticking to the bottom.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the optional minced parsley before serving.
  11. Add half of the coated pasta to the casserole dish, then spoon half of the remaining sauce over that, then sprinkle with half of the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of pasta, sauce, then mozzarella.
Recipe Notes

Recipe and photo courtesy of ThePioneerWoman.com

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