Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Baked Ziti - a winner every time

Baked ziti is one of my favorite dishes so it makes its way into our dinner rotation frequently. It's easy to make and it freezes relatively well. I also like making this dish when someone is sick or has a family member in the hospital - basically, a mini-crisis - because most people like pasta and they can heat it up at their own convenience.

Here we go!

First, set your oven to 425 degrees F. While the oven is heating, boil an entire box of ziti noodles. There was a period of time we had to use penne pasta because I couldn't find ziti noodles anywhere. It's OK as baked penne, but so much better as baked ziti. Boil the pasta until it's a true al dente consistency, usually about 10 minutes.

Grab a 9X13 dish and spray it with Pam. Once your pasta is done cooking, drain it and put it back in the pot. Now you're ready to start your layers. The first layer is half of your pasta. On top of this, place slices of provolone cheese until it's completely covered. See below.

Next, add your sour cream. I'm a little heavy handed with the sour cream, but I like my ziti extra creamy so there you go.

Now add one jar of spaghetti sauce. I change the type of sauce we use every once in awhile just for something different. This time, I tried spicy sausage (I liked it, Nate did not). The one we use most consistently is Ragu's chunky mushroom spaghetti sauce. I think it has a brown label. I digress.

Now add the rest of your ziti pasta. It's probably sticking together at this point, but it's not a big deal. Just throw it on top.

Add your mozzarella cheese next. The original recipe calls for a cup, I think, but I use an entire bag (two cups).

Finally, cover the cheese layer with more spaghetti sauce. I don't use the entire second jar, just enough to cover the cheese. If you like parmesan, throw that on top.

Next, cover it in foil and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

-- 30 minutes later --


You can always add your own layers to change it up. Ground beef, mushrooms, bell peppers - the possibilities are endless. Keep in mind that the recipe as written will fill a 9X13 pan so you may need to divide it into two dishes if you add more layers.



Baked Ziti (click here for printable version)
1 box ziti noodles
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 package sliced provolone cheese
1 pint of sour cream
1 bag (2 cups) of mozzarella cheese
parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Boil ziti noodles until al dente consistency, about 10 minutes. Spray 9X13 dish with Pam. Layer ingredients in the following order: 1/2 ziti noodles, provolone cheese, sour cream, spaghetti sauce, 1/2 ziti noodles, mozzarella cheese, spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese (optional). Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

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