The Baked Ziti Treaty

Why is pasta so good? I can honestly say I could eat pasta for dinner every day and I’d be fine with it. I’d be the size of Texas but whatever. On Wednesday night this week we had a baked ziti, recipe by the lovely Ree Drummond. I had some free time on Sunday so I spent the afternoon making TWO of these bad boys to freeze for a later date. Per usual, this recipe didn’t disappoint! I highly suggest making three or four for you!

Baked Ziti

Servings: 12 (yes we had company)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes (I cut mine up a little)
  • 1 24.5-ounce jar of marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) cooked ziti
  • 15 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ pounds of grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, sausage and ground beef.
  2. Cook until the meat is totally browned. Drain and discard most of the grease but leave a little for flavor.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, marinara, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper.
  4. Stir to combine, and then simmer the sauce for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl and ladle in three cups of the sauce mixture.
  6. Then toss to coat the noodles. Set it aside to cool.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, the parmesan, egg, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper.
  8. Stir the mixture until combined.
  9. Toss the cheese mixture in with the sauce-and-pasta mixture. Do not over mix. You want to see some big cheese chunks in the mixture.
  10. Add half the pasta mixture to a large casserole dish or disposable foil pan.
  11. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top.
  12. Then top with half the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another round of pasta, sauce, and mozzarella.
  13. At this point you can let the casserole cool, then cover and freeze it! Or, if you are making it straight through, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Freezer instructions:

Cover tightly with heavy foil and freeze for up to 6 months. To bake, place the frozen casserole straight into a 350 degree oven, still covered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-30 more minutes.

OR

Thaw the casserole in the fridge 24-36 hours until it is completely thawed. Bake according to the recipe instructions.

Yum!

baking ziti prepping ziti

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