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BAKED ZITI

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ziti
  • 3 1/2 to 4 C homemade or jarred sauce
  • 1/2 lb ground meat, ground sausage or hot sausage links (can use my meatball recipe)
  • 1 1/2 C shredded mozzarella
  • chiffonades of basil, for garnish
  • FOR THE CHEESE MIXTURE:
  • 15 oz. Galbani ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3/4 shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • kosher salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 TBLS fresh chopped parsley
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Can you even believe that this was my first time making Baked Ziti? I have never even ordered it in a restaurant, but I do know it’s one of my Hubby’s favorites. So, I had a container of my Homemade Meatballs and Sauce in the freezer, so I used that (see link for recipe). If you don’t wish to make your own, use your favorite jarred sauce. Don’t have meatballs, you can use hot sausage, ground sausage, ground beef, or the sauce alone. Just be sure to brown the meat first, then add the sauce and heat through. I think the secret to how amazing this dish was, was not only using my homemade sauce and meatballs, but also the incredible cheese mixture. A similar mixture I use for my Baked Meatballs.

a cast iron pan of baked ziti

All I had to do was warm up my meatballs and sauce. As I was doing this, I prepared the pasta to al dente. I love, love, love using DeCecco pasta. Cooks up perfectly, every single time. If you are using ground beef, sausage or sausage links. Brown the meat while the pasta is cooking. Add in the sauce and allow to cook for about five to ten minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. As the pasta and sauce are cooking, grab a bowl and combine all of the ingredients for the cheese mixture. Mix well. (Excuse the dried parsley. It’s all I had. I suggest always using fresh).

ricotta cheese mixture for baked ziti

Grab a 12″ cast iron pan or casserole dish. I sprayed mine with a touch of non-stick spray. Ladle on thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Add half of the pasta.

Add another ladle or two of the sauce on top of the pasta. Spoon on the ricotta cheese mixture. Add the remaining pasta and coat with more sauce. Top with about half of the shredded mozzarella (you will be adding more after it bakes for a little while).

Place in oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Test the inside to see if the ricotta cheese mixture has warmed, and is melty. If not, bake another five or so. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Turn on the broiler and allow the cheese to melt and brown. Keep an eye on it, as you do not want the cheese to burn.

Remove the Baked Ziti from the oven and serve up all warm and gooey. ENJOY!

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I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him!

Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!

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