Sometimes we just a need a meal that keeps giving. And giving. And giving. Baked ziti is an easy meal that makes for great weekday lunches for an entire week … especially if you have the kind of job where you can take a nap after eating it. The ingredient list is pretty flexible to use what you have on hand.
- 1 pound ziti (can sub penne) pasta
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage or ground beef or pork
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary and/or basil, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces) or make your own tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated or shredded
- 1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cook the pasta: Heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain and toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.
Brown the meat: Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks. Brown well.
Make the sauce: When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic, rosemary and/or basil, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.
Add salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings to your taste.
Layer in casserole dish: Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle a spoonful of sauce into the pasta, stir it well and then add the pasta into the casserole.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, and sprinkle on top both the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese.
At this point you can cover and refrigerate or freeze to make ahead.
Bake: Bake in oven at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melted, about 45 -55 minutes.