The in-laws and J's grandma came in this past weekend for a quick visit. Oddly enough, I've never once cooked for them when they've been in town! How could I let them visit so many times without experiencing my cooking greatness? This I will never know, but we ended the curse this weekend.
As they chatted out on the patio with J, I whipped up this delicious Baked Ziti, aka "Bake Rigatoni" since I didn't have ziti in my pantry.
Granted, this recipe is not a quick make. It took longer than expected, but luckily the finished product was worth it.
Baked Ziti (a.k.a 'Baked Rigatoni')
Shoutout to my sister who recommended this Food Network recipe to me.
- 2 Tbsps of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 LB of ground beef
- 1 LB of Italian sausage
- Two 14.5-ounce cans tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
- 2 tsps of Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 LB of ziti
- 1 1/2 LBS mozzarella, grated
- One 15-ounce tub whole-milk ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbsps of chopped fresh parsley, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 eggs
1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until browned. Drain off almost all of the fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
3. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a simmer and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove 3 to 4 cups of the cooked sauce to a bowl to cool down.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Cook the ziti until not quite al dente.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. In a bowl, mix 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, eggs and some salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
7. Drain the pasta and pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps). Add the cooled reserved meat sauce and toss to combine.
8. Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta and the remaining sauce and mozzarella.
9. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before sprinkling with chopped parsley to serve.
I served it with garlic bread that I will be the first to admit came from the frozen bread section in HEB. Still delicious, though!
This is a great meal to serve for large families. There were 5 of us chowing down on it last night, and we still have plenty of leftovers. Try it and let me know how it goes! It could just be one of your family's new favorite meals. I know I'll be making this again.
Try it and let me know how it goes! It could just be one of your family's new favorite meals. I know I'll be making this again. Don't forget to 'share' this post with your friends on social media so they can try it, too.