Sorry for the silence; I took a break last week and this week my son came down with a cold, so I’ve been dealing with him and spending extra time with him. It’s that time of year when everyone gets sick!
Last week the kids begged me for ziti for dinner. I realized that although I’ve talked about the Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti, I’ve never shared her recipe! Her ziti is the most amazing I’ve ever had, I don’t think Ree can do any wrong. I make some tweaks here and there (mainly sweeten up the sauce a bit and add some wine to the sauce) for personal preference but the original recipe is equally as delicious!
It’s a very easy recipe to make, but does require some time. It would also be perfect for entertaining as it feeds about 12 servings – ziti, garlic bread and a salad and you’re done!
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage - if you can't find ground sausage, buy links and cut a slice in the casing and take out the ground sausage
- Two 14.5-ounce cans tomato sauce
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with juice
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 box ziti noodles
- 1½ pounds mozzarella, grated
- 1 15-ounce tub whole-milk ricotta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs
- I also add brown sugar and wine to taste to the sauce - probably about ⅛ to ¼ cup of each
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until browned. Drain off almost all of the fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture. Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a simmer and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove 3 to 4 cups of the cooked sauce to a bowl to cool down.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Cook the ziti until not quite al dente.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a bowl, mix 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, eggs and some salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
- Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps). Add the cooled reserved meat sauce and toss to combine.
- Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta and the remaining sauce and mozzarella.
- Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes and serve.
Have any of you ever made this? If not, I highly suggest you make it – you wont be disappointed!