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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 stars5 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. Positively retaining this recipe saved, and planning on making it for our church lunch, I do know it’ll be gone quick.”

What’s Baked Ziti?

On the lookout for a crowd-pleasing recipe that’s hearty, flavorful, and positive 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 proper recipe for household gatherings, potlucks, or any evening you’re craving Italian-inspired consolation meals. You may simply feed 8 folks 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 you have al dente pasta, as a result of soggy ziti noodles needs 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 whats up to hearty meat sauce! This pasta sauce is further flavorsome because of floor beef and Italian sausage.
  • You can also make this baked ziti recipe upfront and retailer within the fridge or freezer! Or you may make the tomato sauce and ricotta cheese combination the day beforehand and retailer within the fridge to make prep even simpler. 
  • A household liked recipe! We’ve been passing this recipe round my household for years… it’s a tried-and true-staple! 
  • Loads of 5-star opinions. As a result of on the finish of the day, what YOU guys suppose issues most. And tons of of you swear by this basic recipe. 
Al dente pasta for baked ziti mixed with meat sauce.Al dente pasta for baked ziti mixed with meat sauce.

Don’t Over Cook dinner the Pasta

My greatest problem with most baked ziti recipes? The pasta is at all times over baked or under-baked. Burnt noodles are simply as unhealthy as soggy ones. However fortunately, I’ve an answer to this pasta drawback. 

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

  1. Convey 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. Cook dinner the pasta for precisely 4 minutes… and never a second longer! Significantly, set a timer that will help you hold observe of the time. 
  3. Drain the pasta and run it below 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 exhausting when drained. That is regular, so don’t be scared that you just undercooked them. You need the noodles to be further al dente in order that they take in the liquid from the tomato sauce and cheeses. 

Most recipes will let you know 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 method lengthy of a prepare dinner time and also you’ll find yourself with mushy noodles. 

Meat sauce for baked ziti recipe.Meat sauce for baked ziti recipe.

Floor Beef + Italian Sausage Meat Sauce

  • This sauce is a bit of further effort however completely value it! You can also 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. When you use spicy, it’s possible you’ll wish to scale back the crushed purple 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 purple pepper flakes are the spine of this sauce. 
  • Recent basil and recent parsley wake the pasta sauce up and provides it a significant 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 fantastically. When 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 an excellent distribution of cheese, you’ll grate a few of it and dice a few of it. 

Find out how to Make Baked Ziti?

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

  1. Pour a cup of meat sauce on the underside of a big 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 eventually 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 differ relying in your oven and baking dish. 
  2. Glass dishes will conduct warmth sooner than thick ceramic dishes. So should you’re utilizing a thick ceramic baking dish, it’s possible you’ll want so as to add 10 to fifteen to the bake time. 

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

Don’t Bake Coated

Don’t bake this baked ziti lined! Protecting it with aluminum foil will make it unimaginable 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 can also 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 can also make the meat sauce as much as 48 hours upfront. Cool it fully and retailer in an hermetic container, within the fridge, till wanted. Alternatively, you’ll be able to 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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