baked ziti recipe

3

I’m flying around trying to get out the door. I wish I had time to go on and on about how great this dish is, but I don’t. Trust me. It’s delicious. If you find an issue with how rich it is, go rake some leaves or go for a run. Or, just eat a tiny piece. (Good luck on that last part by the way.)

I simmered homemade Bolognese sauce on the stove for hours before I put it together, but in a pinch, you could probably substitute a jarred marinara sauce. Note – your neighborhood will not smell like the best Italian restaurant in town if you go the easy version, but I understand that sometimes shortcuts are necessary.

Baked ziti. I used an 8x8-inch pan, plus a loaf pan (to give to a friend), but it makes a nice 13x9-inch casserole. Generously serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Bolognese sauce, or 2 (26 ounce each) jars your favorite marinara sauce
  • If not using Bolognese sauce, add 1 pound browned and crumbled ground beef or sausage, plus one diced onion
  • 1 pound ziti or rigatoni pasta
  • 6 ounces sliced provolone cheese (9 slices)
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If not using my recipe for Bolognese sauce, sauté onion in a little bit of olive oil until tender. Add ground beef or sausage and brown until cooked through. Add marinara sauce and taste for seasonings. Add more salt if necessary.

Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: ½ of the ziti, ½ sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture and then mozzarella cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. You may want to cover it for the first 20 minutes with foil and then let the cheese melt and brown for the last 10 minutes.

Tonight’s dinner - Bree’s Baked Ziti or “Pizza Casserole.”

It’s a very slight variation on my mother’s old recipe. Just a box of rotini pasta, 3 lbs lean ground beef, shredded mozzarella cheese, and a very big jar of Prego pasta sauce.

Boil the pasta and brown the beef. Drain both well. Mix about ¾ of the big jar of sauce with the beef.

In a good-sized foil pan or baking dish, make your layers. First the pasta, with a splash of pasta sauce and a light sprinkling of mozzarella mixed in. Then the beef and the rest of the pasta sauce. Last, evenly coat the top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350F for about 20min, until the cheese is completely melted and browning at the edges. Serve with ricotta cheese and garlic toast.

Serves 4-6, with leftovers. Keeps well in the fridge and is even better the next day!

Pro-tip: You can add sausage, peppers, or pepperoni to spice up the mix, or whatever other pizza toppings you and your guests prefer.