Baked Ziti

 

I’ve also been meaning to post this recipe for a while.  This recipe is a reader’s request (this one is for you, Christina!)  I’m actually really excited to hear from all of you-especially ideas for “vegetarianizing” or “veganizing” recipes (and, yes, I think I just made those words up).  I had been wanting to make a really easy baked casserole type of dish, knowing that I would be having a pretty intense work of week ahead of me.  One of the best feelings is coming home after a long day and realizing that an awesome dinner is only minutes away.  I think I ate this baked ziti for about 5 days straight.  The recipe makes a lot of servings, so feel free to cut it in half.

I loved this recipe for one (of many) reasons.  It has three different types of cheese in it. It’s a snap to throw together, it smells fantastic while it’s baking, and it’s amazing with some good wine and bread.  Feel free to up the health factor here by using whole wheat ziti, add in some more vegetables (I would cook them separately and mix them into the ricotta mixture-I’m thinking onions, mushrooms, and maybe some spinach!), and use low-fat or vegan cheese substitutes.

As far as freezing goes, assemble the dish as directed and then simply freeze right before the baking step (freeze up to two months).  Get one of those handy aluminum baking tins to freeze it in so later you can just pop it in the oven.  Nothing beats pasta and cheese, right?

Baked Ziti

Servings: at least 4 large main course servings

Ingredients

Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat the baking dish

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg yolk

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated

1/4 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound of ziti

4 cups tomato sauce, heated

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

Fresh basil, torn, for garnish, optional

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Lightly coat a 10 x 12-inch baking dish (or a lasagna pan) with the extra-virgin olive oil.

3. Bring a large pot of  lightly salted water to a boil.

4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg yolk, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and parsley, mixing well.

5. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed on the package until al dente.  Drain well.

7. Very carefully, add the cooked pasta to the ricotta mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

8. Add the heated tomato sauce and mozzarella, mixing well.

9. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

10. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

11.  Bake, uncovered, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes or so.

12.  Let cool slightly, sprinkle with fresh basil (if desired), and enjoy.

 

Source: Barely adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Pasta.

October 5, 2011 - 5:31 am

Tasha - Hi, I just found your blog by chance and I am so excited to try out your recipes, they all look fantastic! This one especially so I will try it first.

I did a brief look but I did not see a printable version option. is it available, or is that an upcoming option?

October 5, 2011 - 7:13 am

srlacy - Hi Tasha-

Thank you for the kind words.

I am actually in the beginning steps of having the website entirely re-designed, and this will be an option that I will be excited to include when this happens. I will also be adding a nice email subscribe feature.

Shanon

October 5, 2011 - 10:31 am

Annie - When I was in high school the family I baby-sat for always had a pan of baked ziti ready for me to pop in the oven when the kids were hungry and I loved it! I’m not sure why I’ve never made it for myself before, but I’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon!

October 5, 2011 - 6:12 pm

Susan - The print option is way down in the bottom left hand corner. I just printed this recipe to try SOON!

October 5, 2011 - 6:46 pm

Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese? - Looks great! I love to order baked ziti when I’m out at an Italian restaurant, but for one reason or another, have never tried to make it myself. That will have to change =). Thanks for sharing!

October 5, 2011 - 9:18 pm

Deborah - You had me at 3 kinds of cheese!!

October 17, 2011 - 1:32 pm

Barbara - This was so good! I did mine in large ramekins for individual servings. Also, you said “tomato sauce” and I thought you meant something like prepared pasta sauce. That’s what I used. Anyway . . . great recipe. So yummy.

March 16, 2012 - 12:27 pm

Samir - Enjoyed making this and my wife and son (and me) loved it! Thanks for sharing!

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