Comfort food at its best. Baked Ziti is one of the best dishes to serve for family and friends. Italian sausage, spinach, and lots of cheese will make this a hit at your next get-together.
- Ricotta Cheese
- Tomato Sauce
- Italian Sausage
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Italian Parsley (for garnish)
What Makes a Baked Ziti Great
There are a few requirements to make an exceptional baked ziti.
One – Sauce! Lots of sauce. Too many people sauce the ziti like it’s going straight to the table. They forget how much moisture will both evaporate, and be absorbed by the pasta resulting in a dry finished product.
Two – Cheese! Lots of cheese. I’m particularly fond of ricotta cheese. Finding a rich pocket of ricotta in the middle of my portion is like finding treasure. Don’t deprive your family and friends of the ricotta treasure hunt, and please reward their efforts.
Meat – There is a lot of room for creativity with your choice of protein. Meatballs would be nice. Chunks of pepperoni. I went with a classic sweet Italian sausage in this recipe, but feel free to have fun with it.
Cooking The Pasta
I recommend cooking the pasta well below the time the box suggests. The pasta will continue cooking in the sauce while it’s in the oven for a full 30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to cook it unpleasantly al dente. I promise it will finish in the oven and be perfect on the plate.
The Point of Comfort Food is Sharing
If you decide to make this for yourself and eat on it all week I can’t blame you. There is something about breaking bread with friends and family that actually makes food taste better. It’s true, I swear… Don’t question science!
Speaking of bread try pairing this baked ziti with my parmesan garlic toast, Amazing Parmesan Garlic Toast. There is going to be lots of sauce to sop up, may as well have a nice cheesy garlic bread handy.
If the recipe below is unclear be sure to check out the video I made for this recipe here Home Pressure Cooking – YouTube
Welp, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this Baked Ziti as much as my family.
Till next time happy cooking -Chef Eric
Classic Baked Ziti
- Large Sauce Pot
- Medium Sauce Pot
- 8 inch square baking dish
- slotted spoon
- standard oven or toaster oven
- Cutting Board
- 8 oz ziti
- 1-1.5 pounds Italian sausage
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- 8 oz ricotta cheese
- 32 oz tomato sauce
- 3 oz spinach rough chopped
- Cut a slit lengthwise in each sausage and remove casings. Brown over medium heat in a large sauce pot breaking up sausage into bite size pieces.
- When sausage is cooked through add spinach and continue cooking till wilted.
- Add tomato sauce and bring to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Cook ziti in well salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes less than the directions on the box.
- When ziti is cooked (al dente) strain and add cooked pasta to sauce and mix well.
- Spoon cooked pasta and sauce into a baking dish about an inch deep.
- Layer dollops of ricotta cheese evenly over pasta, along with 1/2 of the Pecorino Romano, and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese.
- Spoon more pasta over the cheese layer till dish is full.
- Top with remaining half of mozzarella cheese. Save the remaining Pecorino Romano to top finished portions.
- Place into a toaster oven preheated to 400 F or 204 C. If using a standard oven reduce heat to 350 F or 176 C
- Bake for 30 minutes, till cheese is golden brown.
- Let Cool for 5 minutes before serving
Looking for more beginner-friendly recipes? Click here!
Check out our Bacon Wrapped Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin or our Bacon and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary Garlic Jus.
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