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Adopted from Rachael Ray, instead of ground turkey I use lean ground beef.
Make and share this Baked Ziti recipe from Food.com.
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (with roasted garlic)
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1 pinch dried parsley
- 1 pinch salt, plus additional salt for pasta water
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 (1 lb) box rigatoni pasta
- 2 (1 lb) blocks mozzarella cheese (not the soft kind)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, melt half of the butter over medium heat. Add beef and cook until browned. Add tomato sauce, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and onion and simmer until onion is tender.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until a little less than al dente. Drain and cool. Cut 1 of the blocks of cheese into cubes and slice the other into thin slices. Melt the remaining butter and pour into the bottom of a deep 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Pour 1 1/2 ladles full of the sauce into the dish, or enough to completely cover the bottom. Add a layer of pasta and then a layer of cubed cheese. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used.
- Fill 1 of the empty sauce jars 1/8 full with water and shake. Pour over pasta. Top with the thin slices of cheese, and sprinkle with additional oregano and parsley, if desired. Cover casserole with foil and place in oven. Check every 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove foil for last 5 minutes of cooking to brown cheese.
I've made this several times. The family loves it. Instead of the 2 lbs of ground turkey called for in the original recipe, I use 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb Italian turkey sausage (removed from the casings). I can't fit all the cheese into my 13 by 9 pan along with all the other ingredients. I usually put the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow. The family goes crazy for this, though. Oh, and I leave out the butter completely. You just don't need butter to brown meat. For us it makes 12-16 servings.