Pasta layered with marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese to create the best baked ziti.
Ziti has the same ingredients as lasagna but for some reason it tastes so much better. Why? Maybe it’s because the sauce gets trapped inside the pasta and each bite is filled with saucy goodness. The pasta is easier to cook than lasagna noodles and there’s no stressing about broken noodles. Or sticking noodles. Nothing worse than draining the lasagna noodles and then realizing they’re sticking together when you try to separate them!
Just like lasagna, people have a method or ingredient that they swear by adding or it won’t taste as good! I usually throw in some veggies – gotta have something to balance out all that cheese! And, maybe against popular opinion, I always use ricotta cheese too. I get that some people don’t like the texture, but I think it all blends together and adds a perfect creaminess to the dish that just can’t be replicated with anything else. What’s your opinion on ricotta cheese?
The base of the sauce is homemade marinara sauce. If you’ve never made homemade before it’s almost as easy as just opening a jar of sauce. You just saute the onions, add the spices, tomato sauce and let it all simmer.
I’m sitting outside writing this post and with the sunshine and a little breeze, I’m thinking there’s nothing better than a cheesy baked pasta dish – even in the middle is summer! I love taking advantage of the nice days to sit outside and do anything, even if it’s just working on my computer!
Are you going to make Cheesy Baked Ziti? Let me know in the comments and leave any questions or suggestions below!
Cheesy Baked Ziti
|Yield: serves 6 - 8 people|
ta layered with marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese to create the best baked ziti.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 46 ounces tomato sauce
- salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 1 pound pasta, ziti or similar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 5 ounces spinach
- fresh basil
- Make the sauce: Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion, saute 10 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper, saute for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper. Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Coat with 3 cups of homemade tomato sauce.
- Preheat oven 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix the ricotta cheese with the basil, oregano, and rosemary. Fold the ricotta mixture in the pasta. Add the spinach.
- In a large casserole dish, layer half the pasta mixture, then 4 ounces mozzarella, remaining pasta mixture. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Bake 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and toasted. Top with fresh basil
images & text © North Coast Eats
adapted from The Kitchn