Best Baked Ziti Ever

Baked ziti is an Italian casserole that combines ziti pasta into a tomato-based sauce and cheese mixture. The cheese mix can be a combination of parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta. The tomato-based sauce is a flavorful mixture of ground beef, onions, mushrooms and seasonings. This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and cook. It serves eight people.

Ingredients:

• 1 lb ziti pasta (uncooked)

Meat Sauce:

• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 lb lean ground beef
• 1 large white onion (diced)
• 8 oz mushrooms (sliced)
• 1 x 6 oz can tomato paste
• 5 cloves garlic (minced)
• 28 oz crushed tomatoes
• 15 oz tomato sauce
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper

Cheese Mix:

• 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
• 8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
• 1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Meat Sauce:

Set a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add extra virgin olive oil and heat it.
Add lean ground beef.
Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned.
Add diced white onion and sliced mushrooms.
Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes or until onions and mushrooms are soft.
Add tomato paste and minced garlic.
Stir to combine.
Pour crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce into the pot.
Season with dried basil, dried oregano, salt and black pepper.
Stir to combine.
Let it simmer.
Once it simmers, reduce to low heat.
Cover the lid and continue to simmer while cooking the ziti pasta.

Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions.
Once done, drain the water and set the pasta aside.

Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

Cheese Mix:

Meanwhile, prepare the cheese mix.
In a bowl, add softened cream cheese.
Add whole milk ricotta cheese and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Mix well.
Set aside.

Assembly:

Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Add the cooked ziti pasta into the dish.
Pour the meat sauce.
Mix well to coat the pasta.
Spread to distribute evenly in the dish.
Top it off with the cheese mix.
Spread to distribute.
Place it inside the preheated oven.
Let it bake for 20 minutes.
Once done, remove from the oven.
Serve and enjoy!

Tips and ideas:

You can skip adding mushrooms if you don’t like mushrooms.

You can garnish with finely chopped parsley on top.

Best Baked Ziti Ever
Images – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuwRPvIbHxw



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