This Easy Baked Ziti recipe is classic Italian comfort food. Southern-cuisine expert and cookbook author Diana Rattray has created more than 5,000 recipes articles in her 20 years as a food writer. Ricotta adds a creamy texture. It rivals any dish I’ve had in a restaurant at a fraction of the cost with heaps of flavor! If you swap out the sausage, add extra seasonings or spices (and some chili flakes for heat). Pasta: Since this is a baked ziti casserole, I use ziti as the base but any medium pasta will work. Absolutely! Make baked ziti instead! Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm to the bite. ricotta, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a bowl. While the sausage is browning, finely dice a yellow onion. Cover and bake! Baked Ziti has layers of zesty meat sauce, ricotta cheese and tender ziti noodles baked until golden. To reheat, simply pop it in the oven until it is warm. Hi, I’m Katerina! Bring to a simmer. 2 Brown the meat: While the water is heating in the previous step, start on the sauce. For the last 10 mins remove the cover to brown the top. Thanks for waiting. Pasta shapes that are tubes like penne or rigatoni work best because the sauce, cheese, and meat get stuck in them and you get a perfect bite each time. So easy to make and so delicious. Add about 2 cups of the beef sauce to the cooked pasta; stir to combine. If you don't have Italian seasoning in the pantry, use 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. 5 Layer in casserole dish: Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. So EASY and so good! This is the kind of family dinner that will ALWAYS be welcome at our table! No matter how you mix these ingredients together, they’re going to taste great. Make sure you save enough sauce for a thick layer at the top. Molto buono Italiano! Since this is a baked ziti casserole, I use ziti as the base but any medium pasta will work. Yes! Italian sausage adds a ton of flavor in this recipe but of you can use ground beef (or turkey). The prep for the ziti is blissfully simple. If you want to make things even easier – instead of browning your ground beef with all of the onions, garlic, and herbs, you can use uncased Italian sweet sausage or leftover homemade meatballs (that you crush up)! Stir in the tomato sauce. If you find that your ricotta feels a little dry or grainy, you can mix one egg into your ricotta before you add it to the ziti. They loved it. Thank you so much, Dorothy! I made this for dinner and it was so delicious! Drain the pasta through a colander. No problem! Or make two casseroles and freeze one for another day. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add half of the ricotta mixture on top of the ziti in small dollops. Brown ground sausage and onion breaking up until the sausage is fairly fine. Top with chopped parsley, if desired, then serve. Add sauce ingredients and simmer. Redditor Brenda W. said her grandmother was a parent of five and used casseroles with inexpensive ingredients to feed her family. All Rights Reserved. Broil for about 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is browned on top. Add a thin layer (about 1 cup) of sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 pan. You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive. Cooking on a budget shouldn't mean canned beans and ramen noodles night after night. I used penne which I love and the last step I dotted the pasta with the ricotta and then added the sauce and mozzarella and Parm. Add sausages and onion. "My family and I have many fond memories of her and her cooking," said Brenda. As soon as the weather turns cool, I grab the cozy sweaters and start cooking the comfort food, like this Classic Baked Ziti. Cook, stirring until the onion is tender and the beef is no longer pink. From quick and easy weeknight meals, to turkey dinner! It's okay if the ingredients don't cover in a solid layer. Happy Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to make it again, many thanks! If you can’t find ziti (a smooth, tubular shaped pasta), you can substitute penne or rigatoni in this recipe. I always go for whole fat ricotta. "I would recommend following the recipe exactly because some users tried to modify it and they said it just wasn't as good," said Brenda, adding that, when it comes to ingredients, Grandma kept it simple, right down to the pasta sauce she preferred. Small budget? All you need to make this baked ziti dish a spectacular meal is some garlic bread and a simple tossed salad. Make sure the foil is slightly tented so it doesn’t touch the cheese and stick when it melts. This was a really good dinner! Cook pasta until it’s nearly al dente. Layer half of the ziti in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. I love ricotta, but the husband, not so much. . on Amazon, $84.99 (15% savings)

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