Hearty Italian Baked Ziti Recipe
This baked ziti is packed with meat, cheese and delicious spices. A filling dish, this Hearty Italian Baked Ziti will become a family favorite!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
● 16oz Ziti Pasta Noodles
● 3 TBSP Olive Oil
● 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
● ½ tsp Dried Basil
● ½ tsp Thyme
● ½ tsp Oregano
● ½ lb Italian Sausage, ground
● 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
● 28oz Marinara Sauce
● 14.5oz Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
● 16oz Ricotta Cheese
● 1 Large Egg
● 3 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
● 1 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
● Preheat oven to 375°.
● Spray a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
● Cook the pasta slightly less than al dente; set aside. (You want the pasta to be a little undercooked so it will not become mushy while it bakes in the oven.)
● While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef, basil, thyme and oregano. Break the beef up with a spoon and cook over medium heat until cooked.
● In a separate pan, cook the Italian sausage until done, breaking it up into small pieces with your spoon. Drain and set aside.
● Add the crushed garlic and the cooked Italian sausage to the beef mixture; cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
● Add the marinara sauce and diced tomatoes to the meat mixture; bring to a simmer. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes.
● In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta and egg until smooth. Add 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup Parmesan cheese; stir to combine.
● In a very large bowl, toss the pasta with 3 cups of the pasta sauce; add ricotta mixture. Stir to combine.
● Pour half the mixture into your prepared baking dish and top with half of the remaining sauce. Add the remaining pasta mixture and gently flatten with a spatula. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
● Bake for 45 minutes, uncover and top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
● Serve hot.
Makes 6 servings Hearty Italian Baked Ziti
● To save on bowls to wash, use the pasta pot to mix everything. It’s large enough and only had water and pasta in it.
● Additions to consider: extra marina sauce, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, fresh basil, fresh parsley.
● Cook the Italian sausage separately because it releases a lot of fat. You can drain it, and that helps prevent the sauce from becoming too greasy.
● If you don’t have lean ground beef, you’ll want to brown that off by itself (with no spices), and then return it to the pan with the spices, sausage and garlic.
● This will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator and freezes well!
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