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Sour Cream Baked Ziti

A true classic, but made extra creamy and cheesy.

Baked Ziti is obviously a well-loved, absolute classic. So why mess with a good thing? Well I, for one, don’t see Sour Cream Baked Ziti as messing with a good thing so much as switching your baked ziti game up a little bit. It’s a little bit of a creamy, tangy twist to ziti, sure, but it still tastes like the baked ziti you know and love. Still a crowd-pleasing, reliable, comforting weeknight oven bake but stupendously cheesy and creamy to boot. What’s not to love about that?

The first step is to cook your pasta. Salt your water well so that you’re actually lending some flavor to the pasta itself and cook it a minute or two less than what the package tells you. Why? Well, it’s going to keep baking in the oven later and you don’t want to end up with mush!

While that pasta is bubbling away, you’ll brown up your meat. I tend to use ground beef for this particular recipe but you could absolutely substitute ground turkey or Italian sausage. Get that going and then add some chopped onion to soften as well.

Then you’ll stir in some tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and let it simmer briefly, just fifteen to twenty minutes. (Could you use jarred marinara? Sure. But this is just about as fast and tastes even more delicious!)

Stir the ziti into your sauce…

.. and then you’ll get to layering. Half of the ziti/sauce mixture goes into your baking dish and then you top it with some sliced provolone (it melts really well) and dollops of sour cream.

The rest of the pasta and sauce goes on top followed by a blanket of mozzarella. (Of course. We want maximum cheese pulls here.)

And then you bake! Wasn’t that easy?

Not a lot of prep, a little bit of oven time, and you get a classic comforting baked pasta dinner. Let me tell you — my daughter changes her mind about her favorite foods about every two days, which means I get a lot of complaints about what I set down on the dinner table. I’ve never heard a negative peep about this one though!

Serves 6-8

10m prep time

55m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 5 reviewers
  • 1 lb dry ziti pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (32 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta 1-2 minutes less than package directions indicate. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, season the ground beef with salt and pepper and brown, breaking it apart as it cooks.
  3. When beef is about halfway cooked, add onion and continue cooking until beef is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Season with Italian seasoning, then stir in tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Let simmer gently at least 15-20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  6. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the baking dish, then mix the rest of the sauce with the cooked ziti.
  7. Pour half of the ziti/sauce mixture into the dish, then top with a layer of Provolone slices, dollops of sour cream, the remaining ziti, followed by the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden, about 15 minutes more.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food Doodles.

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