If you like lasagna, but don’t want to bother with the fuss, make Baked Ziti instead! It has the same basic ingredients and taste as a classic lasagna, but is way easier to make. As an added bonus, it makes incredible leftovers, and freezes beautifully.
I used the following ingredients: Ziti pasta, ricotta cheese (preferably homemade), mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and Bolognese Sauce (preferably homemade – I made the Bolognese Sauce yesterday specifically for this!).
Making the Baked Ziti
I start by cooking the pasta in boiling salted water, to the al dente stage, according to the package directions, drained and rinsed it, and let it cool. Then I mixed together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg in a large bowl. I added the Ziti, and stirred the mixture until the Ziti was coated. Next, I added some of the Bolognese Sauce, and stirred the mixture until everything was combined.
Because it’s just two of us, I decided to make three small Baked Ziti’s as opposed to one large one. Part of my thinking in making this in the first place was that we’re approaching the peak of hurricane season, and I wanted to have ready to heat meals in the freezer in the event we’re unlucky enough to be hit. In fact, there’s a system that is about ready to enter the Gulf, and the National Hurricane Center has it heading directly towards us – UGH!
Building the Baked Ziti
Anyway, I used my 8¼-inch x 6¼-inch Pyrex dishes, and built the Baked Ziti as follows: A layer of the pasta, layer of additional Bolognese Sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
I repeated this one more time, and finished the Baked Ziti off with some grated Parmesan cheese.
I baked one of the Ziti’s in a preheated oven at 375° F – the rest went into the freezer for a later date.
After about 25 minutes, the Baked Ziti was hot and bubbly, and the melted cheese on the top was a golden brown. I let the Baked Ziti sit for about 5 minutes before serving it with a Caesar salad and a crusty baguette. Yum!
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- 16 ounce package Ziti
- 2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 ¼ cups (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- 8 cups Bolognese Sauce divided
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook Ziti in boiling water to al dente stage, about 10 minutes. Drain in colander; rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Combine ricotta cheese, 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, ½-cup (1.75 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, and egg in a large bowl. Add cooked Ziti; mix to combine. Add 3 cups of the Bolognese Sauce; mix to combine.
- Place half of Ziti mixture in a large baking dish. Top with half of remaining Bolognese Sauce and half of remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with remaining Ziti, Bolognese Sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle remaining grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Note, if making three smaller Baked Zitis layer each dish as follows: 13 ounces of pasta mixture, ¾ cup (6 ounces) Bolognese Sauce, ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat for second layer. Top with ¼ cup (¾ ounce) grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 375° F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings.