Growing up in a Polish-Canadian home, I wasn’t often exposed to food that didn’t fall under the categories of perogies, kielbasa and homemade soups.
I’ll admit, I had no idea what ziti even was until I saw the (reasonably enjoyable) movie In Good Company, where a character drops an entire casserole dish of baked ziti on the floor.
Alas, as I quickly learned, ziti is simply pasta and what we have here is a delicious and classic pasta casserole. However, such trouble finding ziti in the supermarket! After two stores, I sighed and simply settled on penne.
I followed the instructions completely, but added an additional clove of garlic to the marinara sauce. DELICIOUS. This is such a basic dish, but oh so comforting. (I’ll definitely be adding this to my repertoire, especially in the colder months. Also, this dish is the king/queen of leftovers!)
By the way, I’m really loving how these recipes from The Kitchn’s blog are written: Casual and friendly… feels like a friend writing you an email to tell you about a great dish they made for dinner last night!
Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5
How To Make Baked Ziti
What You Need
For the pasta and sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
5 cups marinara sauce (about 46 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried ziti or penne pasta
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
Large pot or Dutch oven
Strainer or colander
Measuring cups and spoons
Large skillet or frying pan
9×13-inch baking dish
- Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Cook the pasta and sauce while the oven is heating.
- Boil the water: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
- Cook the onions and garlic: Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes.
- Simmer the sauce: Add the marinara and 1 teaspoon salt, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Cook the pasta: When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until just tender. While the pasta is cooking, make the ricotta filling.
- Make the ricotta filling: Stir the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.
- Drain the pasta: When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander or strainer.
- Sauce the pasta: Return the pasta to the now-empty pot. Add half of the sauce (about 3 cups) and stir until the pasta is well-coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Fold in the ricotta: Add the ricotta mixture to the pasta and fold it in, leaving big pockets of ricotta here and there.
- Layer the pasta: Transfer half of the pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Evenly sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining pasta in an even layer.
- Layer the sauce and cheese: Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the remaining mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Bake the casserole: Bake uncovered until the edges are bubbling and the cheese is completely melted and browned in spots, about 30 minutes.
- Cool the casserole: Remove the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving.
- Variations: Feel free to add 2 cups of cooked vegetables or a pound of cooked ground meat or sausage to the sauce. This Italian sausage and peppers baked ziti version is also delicious.
- Make ahead: This dish can be assembled and refrigerated, covered in foil, up to 2 days in advance. Bake covered for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.
- Two smaller casseroles: This can be prepared in 2 (8×8-inch) baking dishes instead, which is great if you want to freeze half for a future meal.
- Freezing: Baked ziti can be frozen right in the baking dish for up to 2 months, just let it cool completely and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil first. Bake straight from the freezer covered with foil for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe copied from: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-an-all-star-baked-ziti-231963