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Finest Ever Baked Ziti Recipe

This top-rated baked ziti recipe options al dente pasta with meat sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese! Scrumptious with a salad and garlic bread. And making baked ziti forward of time is very easy and handy!

Finest Baked Ziti Recipe

Britt says: ” 5 stars This was so good! A HUGE hit with my household, even my youngest two who’re very delicate eaters. My youngest went again to seconds. Undoubtedly holding this recipe saved, and planning on making it for our church lunch, I do know it’ll be gone quick.”

What’s Baked Ziti?

Searching for a crowd-pleasing recipe that’s hearty, flavorful, and certain to make you appear to be a celebrity chef? Baked ziti to the rescue! Aka al dente noodles layered with ricotta cheese, meat sauce, and a trio of Italian cheeses. Like lasagna… with out all of the fussy meeting and layering! 

The right recipe for household gatherings, potlucks, or any evening you’re craving Italian-inspired consolation meals. You may simply feed 8 individuals with one pan of baked ziti. Leftovers? It pairs nice with an Italian chopped salad and a few heat garlic knots or garlic bread! 

How do you Make Baked Ziti BETTER? 

  • Be sure to have al dente pasta, as a result of soggy ziti noodles ought to be a sin. 
  • Use my flavorful ricotta cheese combination: this secret mix is clean and so delish!
  • Say goodbye to boring tomato sauce and good day to hearty meat sauce! This pasta sauce is additional flavorsome because of floor beef and Italian sausage.
  • You may make this baked ziti recipe upfront and retailer within the fridge or freezer! Or you can also make the tomato sauce and ricotta cheese combination the day beforehand and retailer within the fridge to make prep even simpler. 
  • A household cherished recipe! We’ve been passing this recipe round my household for years… it’s a tried-and true-staple! 
  • Loads of 5-star evaluations. As a result of on the finish of the day, what YOU guys assume issues most. And lots of of you swear by this basic recipe. 
Al dente pasta for baked ziti mixed with meat sauce.

Don’t Over Prepare dinner the Pasta

My largest challenge with most baked ziti recipes? The pasta is all the time over baked or under-baked. Burnt noodles are simply as dangerous as soggy ones. However fortunately, I’ve an answer to this pasta drawback. 

Right here’s the best way to prepare dinner the pasta completely (al dente) each time: 

  1. Carry a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add salt as soon as the water is at a full rolling boil. 
  2. Add within the pasta and stir. Prepare dinner the pasta for precisely 4 minutes… and never a second longer! Critically, set a timer that can assist you hold observe of the time. 
  3. Drain the pasta and run it beneath chilly water to cease it from cooking any extra. 

So why do you solely prepare dinner the pasta for 4 minutes? A number of rounds of testing – with quite a lot of totally different pasta manufacturers – proved this to be the magic quantity! 

Why you need Al Dente Noodles 

Following the tactic itemizing above, your ziti noodles will nonetheless be onerous when drained. That is regular, so don’t be scared that you simply undercooked them. You need the noodles to be additional al dente in order that they take up the liquid from the tomato sauce and cheeses. 

Most recipes will inform you to prepare dinner your pasta till al dente, or a minute earlier than al dente, which is 9 to 10 minutes. Don’t comply with this recommendation. That is means lengthy of a prepare dinner time and also you’ll find yourself with mushy noodles. 

Meat sauce for baked ziti recipe.

Floor Beef + Italian Sausage Meat Sauce

  • This sauce is somewhat additional effort however completely value it! You may make it upfront and retailer it within the fridge for 3 days or freeze it for as much as 2 months! 
  • Floor beef and Italian sausage promise an additional hearty meat sauce! Use candy Italian sausage or spicy Italian sausage. In case you use spicy, you could wish to scale back the crushed pink pepper flakes. 
  • Tomato sauce and tomato pasta make sure the meat sauce is thick and has loads of wealthy tomato taste! 
  • Kitchen staples like olive oil, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, sugar, and crushed pink pepper flakes are the spine of this sauce. 
  • Recent basil and recent parsley wake the pasta sauce up and provides it a serious pop of freshness. 

Let’s get CHEESY…

  • Like most baked ziti recipes, this one options ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. 
  • However I don’t cease there, I additionally use Fontina cheese, which tastes scrumptious and melts superbly. In case you can’t discover it, use an equal quantity of low-moisture mozzarella!
  • The ricotta cheese combination contains egg, egg yolk, basil, parsley, parmesan cheese, fontina cheese, salt, and pepper.
  • To make sure a fair distribution of cheese, you’ll grate a few of it and dice a few of it. 

Easy methods to Make Baked Ziti?

Assembling baked ziti is tremendous straightforward and it’s not an actual science, so don’t fear when you mess this up somewhat. However right here’s how I love to do it:

  1. Pour a cup of meat sauce on the underside of a giant baking dish. Then add half of the ricotta cheese combination on high, dropping it in random dots everywhere in the backside of the baking dish.
  2. Pour the al dente pasta on high. Then high with pasta remaining sauce. Dot on the remaining ricotta cheese. Then sprinkle with shredded cheese and at last scatter on the cheese cubes.

How lengthy to Bake Baked Ziti?

  1. You’ll wish to bake till the cheese is deeply golden and effervescent. This often takes about half-hour, however can fluctuate relying in your oven and baking dish. 
  2. Glass dishes will conduct warmth sooner than thick ceramic dishes. So when you’re utilizing a thick ceramic baking dish, you could want so as to add 10 to fifteen to the bake time. 

Need your cheese to look extra golden? You may fireplace up the broiler and let it sit beneath there for 30 seconds. Simply watch out, it’s straightforward to burn!

Don’t Bake Coated

Don’t bake this baked ziti lined! Overlaying it with aluminum foil will make it unattainable for the cheese to brown. It’ll additionally lure steam contained in the foil, which may trigger soggy noodles! So remember to bake uncovered. 

Make Baked Ziti Forward of Time

  1. You may make this recipe 100% forward of time. Merely assemble as directed, then the wrap the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap. Retailer the unbaked ziti within the fridge for as much as 48 hours. 
  2. When it’s time to bake, take away the baked ziti from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about half-hour. Then take away the plastic wrap (don’t bake lined!) and bake as directed. Chances are you’ll want so as to add 10 to fifteen minutes onto the bake time because you’re baking it from a calming state. 
  3. You may make the meat sauce as much as 48 hours upfront. Cool it utterly and retailer in an hermetic container, within the fridge, till wanted. Alternatively, you possibly can freeze it for as much as 2 months. 

Finest Ever Baked Ziti Recipe

Ashley Manila

This top-rated baked ziti recipe options al dente pasta with meat sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese! Scrumptious with a salad and garlic bread. And making baked ziti forward of time is very easy and handy!



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