The Millennial Chef

Baked Ziti

Guys, I'm not going to lie, this recipe is SO STINKIN' GOOD! Yeah yeah, it's not the most healthy dish you've ever eaten, but it's not like you're rocking out baked ziti every day. This is definitely a special-occasion type meal, so when you do have it (probably once a year), enjoy the hell out of it!

Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce (or buy 2 jars of sauce)

1 onion, chopped 

Extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Italian seasonings

1 6 oz can of tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes

1 cup of water

Fresh parsley, 1-2 tablespoons

Fresh basil, 1-2 tablespoons

Salt and pepper, to taste

Ricotta mixture:

1 15 oz tub of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese

1 egg

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

1 teaspoon fresh basil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1.5 pounds of pasta, whichever you like! I like a small pasta for this, but up to you

1 lb of fresh mozzarella, sliced

Parmesan cheese

Serving size- 6-8

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Start out by making your tomato sauce. Take out a medium to large pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bring to a medium to low heat and add your chopped onions and saute. Season with salt. After about 5-7 minutes, add your garlic, more salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings. Cook for an additional minute, then add in the tomato paste and cook another minute or so. Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, water, 1-2 tablespoons of fresh parsley or basil (or more if you like), and mix. Season with a little more salt and pepper, then bring to boil, and down to a simmer, cover and cook for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
  3. Once the sauce has cooked for at least 30 minutes, take out another large pot and start boiling your water to cook your pasta. Salt generously, and cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  4. Now, make your ricotta mixture. Simple combine all of the ingredients and taste for seasonings. Set aside. Then thinly slice your fresh mozzarella.
  5. Now it's time to assemble the Ziti! AKA the fun part. Take out a large 13x9 baking dish and start out by ladling in some of your tomato sauce to the bottom of the dish. Don't skimp here, this dish can be dry so add in a couple cups to the bottom of the dish. Then in your half of your pasta, and ladle in some more sauce. Next, put down half of your fresh mozzarella down, and a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese. Then, spoon dollops of your ricotta mixture (half of it since we'll be doing another layer), and sprinkle more parmesan cheese. Now repeat these steps! After your second later of ricotta, top with more sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese along with more fresh parsley and basil!
  6. Bake in the oven, covered, for about 35 minutes, and then take the foil off and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and insanely delicious!

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