We decided to dig deep into our recipe box for pasta night, and what we found is this wonderful baked ziti recipe. A box of penne we have on hand works just as well as ziti from the original recipe, since both types of tubular pasta noodles hold ingredients well. When we need something that will really fill up our hungry bunch, this is a good go-to meal. We just pour our ingredients into a casserole dish, set into the oven to bake and it’s done. Something fresh on the side is always nice, so we like to toss up a quick, simple salad for a little greenery. This hearty meal offers a fantastic way for us to feed our hungry crowd at home, entertain for a dinner party or take it to a friend’s house; it freezes well so this could be a weekend baking recipe that is tucked away for later in the week.
Serves 8 - 10
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 jars pasta sauce, 24 ounces each
- 1 yellow onion, medium-sized, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 package ziti or penne pasta, 16 ounces
- 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F, and coat 9-by-13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring water to boil in a large pot and add pasta. Undercook pasta slightly as it finishes cooking during the baking process.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet and sauté onion until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir frequently for 1 minute.
- Brown meat in same skillet as onion and garlic.
- Add pasta sauce to skillet and bring to a slow bubble. Reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain pasta and return to pot. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir to prevent sticking.
- Add ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese to pasta, stirring to combine. Add meat sauce to pot, stirring again to incorporate.
- Pour pasta into baking dish and top with 2 additional cups of pasta sauce.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top, and return to oven to finish baking for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven to cool slightly prior to serving.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn