Baked ziti is a classic Italian dish that appeals to the masses. My version is made with noodles, homemade tomato sauce, and heaps of cheese.
- 12 ounces ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 12 ounces (3 cups) mozzarella cheese
- 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ pounds (7 ½ cups) ziti
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400℉.
- Mix ricotta, 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to boil in Dutch oven. Add 1 ½ tablespoons salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 ½ cups pasta cooking water, drain pasta, and set aside.
- Dry emptied pot, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, and pepper flakes, and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Take off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cooked pasta and reserved cooking water.
- Pour half of pasta-sauce mixture into 9-inch by 13-inch dish. Dollop large spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over pasta. Pour remaining sauce mixture over top and sprinkle mozzarella mixture on top.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until filling is bubbling and cheese has started to brown.
- Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
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