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RECIPES

Classic Baked Ziti

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Classic Baked Ziti

 

 

Baked Ziti: The Ultimate Comfort Food Casserole

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can compete with the cheesy, hearty goodness of baked ziti.

This Italian-American classic is perfect for feeding a crowd, making it a go-to recipe for family dinners, potlucks, and gatherings.

With its layers of pasta, rich tomato sauce, and gooey melted cheese, baked ziti is a dish that brings warmth and satisfaction to any table.

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Classic Baked Ziti

Ingredients:

 

1 pound ziti pasta

1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings

1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce

1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes

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2 cups ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

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1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions:

 

Cook the Pasta:

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Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the Sauce:

In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage over medium heat until browned and cooked through, breaking it into crumbles with a spoon. Drain any excess fat.

Add the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes to the skillet with the sausage. Stir in the dried basil and oregano, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Prepare the Ricotta Mixture:

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until well blended.

Assemble the Baked Ziti:

In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the sausage and tomato sauce on the bottom. Add half of the cooked ziti pasta, followed by dollops of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese over the ricotta.

Repeat the layers: add another layer of sauce, the remaining ziti, the rest of the ricotta mixture, and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Finish with a final layer of sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

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Bake:

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Serve:

Let the baked ziti cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a touch of color and freshness.

Serving Suggestions:

Garlic Bread: Serve the baked ziti with a side of garlic bread to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Green Salad: A crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette complements the richness of the baked ziti perfectly.

Wine Pairing: Pair this dish with a robust red wine like Chianti or a Zinfandel to enhance the flavors of the sausage and tomato sauce.

Baked ziti is a dish that embodies comfort and tradition. It’s easy to make, feeds a crowd, and can be prepared ahead of time for a stress-free meal.

Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or a special occasion, this classic casserole is sure to please everyone at the table.

Keywords:

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Italian comfort food

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