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How to make Baked Ziti

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How to make Baked Ziti

 

How to make Baked Ziti

How to make Baked Ziti

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Baked Ziti is one of my families favorite meals. Everyone in the family loves it…..except for my husband. He does not like ricotta cheese! I don’t know what his problem is when it comes to ricotta cheese but even when I make lasagna I have to make a smaller separate tray just for him with out the ricotta cheese.

How boring is that! Ricotta cheese is the second best part of baked ziti or lasagna. Mozzarella cheese is of course the best ingredient.

My husband is a difficult man to feed. And he wonders why our children are picky eaters. The grand kids are picky eaters also but even they love when I make a big tray of  Baked Ziti.

You can find the entire printable recipe at the bottom of this post.

Here is what you will need to make a big tray of Baked Ziti that will feed a crowd of 6 adults and three or four children with some left overs for the lunch the next day.

 Baked Ziti Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ziti noodles,
  • 1 large jar of sauce,
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 32 ounce whole-milk Ricotta cheese
  • 1 4 cup bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1- 1 pound block of whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh or dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

This would also be a great make ahead freezer meal.

Simply make it the same way but when it is done baking cool and then cut into individual servings and freeze in a container or zip lock bag. Be sure to remove most of the air to prevent freezer burn.

How to make Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti Ingredients

 

Beat the egg in a bowl. Add the entire container of ricotta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of  chopped parsley.

 Baked Ziti Ricotta Cheese Mixture

Baked Ziti Ricotta Cheese Mixture

 

Cover and refrigerate the ricotta mixture until your ready to assemble the baked ziti.

 Baked Ziti ground Beef

Baked Ziti ground Beef

 

Brown the ground beef, drain well and return to pot. Open the jar and pour the sauce into the pot with the cooked ground beef, stir and heat. Simmer on low until all your ingredients are ready.

If you’d like to add a little extra seasoning or parmesan cheese as I sometimes do add it now while you are heating the sauce.

If you like homemade sauce better then jarred you of course can substitute it for the jarred sauce..

Cook the ziti noodles per the box instructions. While the pasta is cooking grate the block of cheese.

How to make Baked Ziti

How to make Baked Ziti

 

When the pasta is cooked el dente drain it well and pour into a large baking pan.

 Baked Ziti Adding Sauce to cooked Ziti noodles

Baked Ziti Adding Sauce to cooked Ziti noodles

 

Add  the sauce to the pasta and stir.

 Baked Ziti add sauce

Baked Ziti add sauce

 

Baked Ziti add mozzarella

Baked Ziti add mozzarella

 

Add 2/3 of the pre-shredded mozarella cheese and stir well.

 Baked Ziti stir in the cheese

Baked Ziti stir in the cheese

 

If your husband is picky like mine and doesn’t like ricotta cheese take some of the ziti out of the pan at this point and put it into a small baking dish before you add the ricotta cheese in the next step.

 Add 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture.

 Baked Ziti recipe ricotta cheese

Baked Ziti recipe ricotta cheese

 

Stir it in.

 Baked Ziti stir ricotta

Baked Ziti stir ricotta

 

 Baked Ziti dot ricotta on top

Baked Ziti dot ricotta on top

 

Some people like to spread an even layer of ricotta cheese over the top of the ziti. If you do then feel free to spread the ricotta cheese over the top that way. My grandmother did it this way, my mom did it this way and I have always done it this way.

I do the same when I make lasagna.

It really a personal preference.

 Baked Ziti add Mozzarella on top

Baked Ziti add Mozzarella on top

 

Randomly sprinkle the two different types of shredded mozarella cheese over the top of the ziti covering as much of the ziti noodles as possible.

You might be wondering why I use two different types of mozzarella cheese?

Well I really love the flavor and texture of the block of fresh whole-milk mozarella. It’s expensive though so to be able to enjoy that flavor I mix it with a cheaper mozarella cheese.

Loosely cover your tray with aluminum foil being sure to tent it over the center of the tray so the melting cheese doesn’t stick.

Bake it in a 375 degrees over for 30-45 minutes or until it is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

Baked Ziti Cooked

Baked Ziti Cooked

 

5 from 1 reviews
Easy Homemade Baked Ziti
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: serves 7-10
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ziti noodles,
  • 1 large jar of sauce,
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 32 ounce whole-milk Ricotta cheese
  • 1 4 cup bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1 pound block of whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh or dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Beat the egg in a bowl. Add the entire container of ricotta cheese, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of chopped parsley. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate the ricotta mixture until your ready to assemble the baked ziti.
  2. Brown the ground beef, drain well and return to the pot.
  3. Pour the sauce into the pot with the cooked ground beef and heat. If you'd like to add a little extra
  4. seasoning or parmasan cheese as I sometimes do add it now while you are heating the sauce.
  5. Cook the ziti noodles per the box instructions. While the pasta is cooking grate the block of cheese. When the pasta is cooked el dente drain it well and pour into a large baking pan.
  6. Add the meat and sauce to the pasta and stir.
  7. Add ⅔ of the pre-shredded mozarella cheese and stir well.
  8. Add ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture. Mix well.
  9. Randomly sprinkle the two different types of shredded mozarella cheese over the top of the ziti covering as much of the ziti noodles as possible.
  10. Loosely cover your tray with aluminum foil being sure to tent it over the center of the tray so the melting cheese doesn't stick.
  11. Bake it in a 375 degrees over for 30-45 minutes or until it is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Notes
Some people like to spread an even layer of ricotta cheese over the ziti. If you do then feel free to spread the ricotta cheese over the top instead of adding the spoonfuls as I do. My mom did it this way and I have always done it this way. I do the same when I make lasagna.

It really a personal preference.
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Comments

  1. Oh I love ricotta! Those globs look delicious! This is a great baked ziti step by step, love <3

  2. Patricia Lehe says:

    I hate ricotta also!! Like the recipe except for jarred sauce, which I think is a sin in my husbands family.

    • Patricia

      I would much rather use homemade sauce also but guess what? My husband hates homemade sauce along with the ricotta. If it doesn’t come in a cardboard box or a jar from the store he won’ eat it. He drives me crazy!

  3. Me and my hubs don’t like the sauce, so we often skip pasta……but this looks very very good. My boys will love it.

  4. Baked ziti is always delicious. Your recipe looks great!

  5. This looks like a great recipe. We love making lasagna but, I ‘d love to try this sometime just to switch things up.

  6. I just tried this recipe and this is good, I’ll admit I didn’t follow it to the teeth, I used penne noodles instead of ziti and I topped it with the ricotta with mozzarella and aged Parmesan… SO GOOD!!!

  7. Oh and I added turkey sausage to it… I’m allergic to pork.still so good.

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