Creamy Meaty Baked Ziti, three different kinds of cheese folded in a hearty marinara sauce with pasta.
The perfect meal to feed a crowd or split and make one for your family and take the other to a friend. Add a salad and some crusty bread and you have a delicious meal.
This scrumptious pasta dish can be made ahead and baked later. In every sense of the word, a perfect recipe. Baked Ziti is so popular in many households including mine. My husband adores this dish.
Creamy Meaty Baked Ziti
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 lbs. hamburger (I use ground round)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
- 4 (8 oz. can) tomato sauce
- 1 (28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large tub (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 pound box ziti (cooked according to package directions)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
In a large skillet, add olive oil, garlic and onion. Stir and cook until onion is transparent. Add salt and pepper. Stir and cook hamburger until browned. I DO NOT drain the fat.
Stir in tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Add sugar, Italian seasonings, basil and red pepper flakes. Stir well; set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl, add 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and egg. Stir all together being sure not to overmix.
Fold in cooked ziti. Add cooled meat sauce and stir gently being sure not to overmix. Big chunks of the cheesy mixture are ok.
Pour in a large greased casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Cook's Note: This dish can be made ahead and baked later. Take it out of the refrigerator and let sit for 30-40 minutes before baking.
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