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Baked Ziti is everything that a classic Italian dish should be. Cheesy, creamy, saucy, gooey goodness that leaves you asking for more, even when you’re already full. It’s that good. Even better, it’s so easy to make. Consider it a simple lasagna without all the fuss and layering that lasagna calls for.

The straightforward simpleness of this dish makes it incredibly versatile. You’ve got your base recipe to work with, but you can really color outside the lines on this one. Substitute your favorite meat or vegan meat product of choice. Mix up the cheeses to a more or less creamy blend. Play with your spices to give it a more Mediterranean flair. Toss some sour cream in your tomato sauce to give it a creamier texture.

What? YES! There are a lot of turns you can take with baked ziti to make it one of your signature dishes that nobody else can exactly replicate.

Start with this base recipe and get in there and have some fun! Your family and friends will thank you for this one.

This simple sauce comes together quickly and is easy to flavor to taste
Difficulty: Beginner Cook Time 45 min Total Time 45 mins Servings: 4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Description

Baked Ziti is everything that a classic Italian dish should be. Cheesy, creamy, saucy, gooey goodness that leaves you asking for more, even when you’re already full. It’s that good. Even better, it’s so easy to make. Consider it a simple lasagna without all the fuss and layering that lasagna calls for.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add ziti and cook 9-11 minutes until al dente (soft but not floppy to the touch with no pasta crunch) Drain. Drizzle/toss with 1  tbsp olive oil. Set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes. The shallots will release a nice, rich smell, soften in texture and get a translucent sheen on their skin.

  3. Add sausage or other meat product to shallots, breaking up and stirring meat as it sautees for 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano to flavor in the the last minute of this process.

  4. Complete your sauce by adding wine, tomatoes, crushed peppers and ½ of the parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce to a slow simmer and cook 5-10 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking dish with vegetable spray or olive oil.

  6. Stir Pasta, Ricotta, ½ of the Romano, ½ of the parmesan and sauce in a bowl.

  7. Pour ½ of the pasta mix into the baking dish.

  8. Layer the mozzarella on top of this mix. Top with the rest of the pasta mix and sprinkle remaining Parmesan/Romano on top. These layers will melt the cheeses throughout the pasta during the cooking process, giving a nice, creamy blend.

  9. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The top cheese layer should be fully melted with just slight edge of browning before pulling out of the oven.

  10. Let rest for five minutes, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

Note

  • I used Beyond Sausage as a meat substitute and it tasted just like regular sausage. If using real sausage, drain off extra oil before adding garlic and oregano in step 2.
  • The crushed peppers in the recipe add a little spice. You can add to or substitute the peppers with different flavors and spices of your choice.
  • Serve with garlic bread and/or salad
Keywords: Baked Ziti, Simple lasagna, Chessy, Creamy
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