The classic American meal is creamy, cheesy, rich and savory; and all these qualities define Ziti. Baked Ziti is a well-known Italian American casserole meal that is often designated as comfort food, owing to the combination of rich flavors Ziti delivers.
Not very different from Lasagna, but easier to bake at home, Ziti makes for a wholesome meal composed of baked pasta, a rich tomato sauce, sausages and a variation of cheeses.
The variation of textures in Ziti amplifies its popularity. Ziti delivers the opportunity to bite into meaty sausages, springy pasta and to fill your mouth with gooey cheeses. Some would say it’s the definition of a complete meal.
When To Make Ziti
Ziti comfortably fits into your regular menu. There is no need to limit preparing Ziti for special occasions. However, it works just as well for a family meal, as it does for when you are having guests over. Consider preparing baked Ziti when:
- You need to take your own casserole to a potluck party
- When you wish to make a wholesome meal for kids that can benefit from an ample supply of calories and proteins
- When you do not have the time or inclination to cook a multicourse meal but you would enjoy the wholesomeness of a casserole packed with flavors and texture.
How To Make Ziti
Ziti is a baked casserole meal so get ready for about twenty minutes of baking, combined with cooking and prep time. Detailed below are the instructions and ingredients required to prepare baked Ziti from scratch.
- 1-pound ziti pasta
- Olive oil
- 1-pound bulk Italian sausage or ground beef or pork
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or basil), minced
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large jar of marinara sauce
- 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Firstly, boil two quarts of water in a large pan, add one tablespoon of salt and cook pasta in it until all dente.
- Strain your cooked pasta in a colander and drizzle with olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.
- Even while you commence the pasta cooking process with boiling water, use another pan to brown your sausages using a tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Be sure to break up the sausages into sizable chunks and brown thoroughly. Beef sausages will need a pinch of salt during the browning process; if beef is what you prefer over pork.
- Once sausages are adequately browned, add onions and garlic and stir well to combine meat with these additives. Do this for 4 to 5 minutes till onions are translucent.
- Now put in your Italian seasoning along with garlic and rosemary to add even more flavors to your Ziti. Stir well and add your marinara sauce. Bring this mix to a simmer and take off the stove.
- Now preheat your oven to a 350-degree Fahrenheit.
- Take a 9*13-inch casserole pan, layer it with sauce, sprinkle on some ricotta cheese.
- Combine pasta with a large ladle of sauce, mix well and layer over the ricotta and sauce in your casserole pan.
- Add the remaining sauce over the pasta, layer again with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella, and bake for twenty minutes.
- After 20 minutes of baking, when you see a slightly brown layer on top of your casserole pan, with creamy melted cheese; your Ziti is ready for the table.