With the cold months here, what better dinner idea is there than an ooey gooey, meaty baked pasta dish filled with creamy ricotta aka baked ziti. 

Baked ziti is an extremely popular Italian-American dish, typically seen at family gatherings and celebrations due to its simplicity and large portion.

It consists of ziti pasta alongside a ground meat mixture, typically Italian sausage and beef all layered with ricotta and fresh mozzarella.

The dish which originates from Italy, goes back as far as the Middle Ages, and embodies all of the typical Italian cooking methods and flavors.

If you’d like to make this recipe for yourself, follow the steps below!

Recipe

1. In a pot over medium heat, add about two tablespoons of olive oil. When ready, add half of the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes and mix. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano and optionally, red pepper flakes.

3. Mix and cover. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

4. In a medium pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

5. Next, add the sausage and ground turkey or beef. Let cook and break up the meat as you go along. It’ll take about 30 minutes to cook through.

6. Once the sauce and meat are cooked through, mix together thoroughly and set aside.

7. Season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

8. Next, cook your noodles to al dente, as per the package instructions. Drain, and set aside.

9. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, 8oz of mozzarella (set aside the rest for layering), 1 egg, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and mix.

10. Add about a cup of the meat sauce you made earlier, and mix.

11. Now, it’s time to layer, but first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

12. Add a layer of the meat sauce to the bottom of a baking dish. Add the pasta mixture. Then, add some of your grated mozzarella. Continue to layer until nothing remains making sure to top it off with the mozzarella.

13. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

14. Optionally, top with parsley and fresh cracked black pepper.

15. Serve and enjoy!

 

Ingredients

For Sauce
  • 1lb Italian sausage, mild
  • 1lb ground turkey/beef
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 28oz crushed tomatoes
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, minced
  • Oregano
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
For Ziti
  • 1lb ziti
  • 15oz whole milk ricotta
  • 16 oz whole milk mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Oregano
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

 

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