Baked Ziti (Ziti Al Forno)

READY IN: 2hrs 30mins
Recipe by Mamablowfish

This classic Italian casserole with ziti macaroni, tiny meatballs and homemade sauce is easy to make and delicious. The sauce takes 1 1/2 hours to reduce so to save time you can make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time. I like to top it with fresh strips of basil !

Top Review by Winning Wendy!

This is awesome! Best ever. I didn't change a thing. It was so much fun to make and even better to eat. the time involved does require a bit of planning - so worth it. Another favorite for my recipe box. Thanks mamablowfish for the recipe. ~ww

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Sauce.
  2. Melt butter and oil in lg. pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until soft.
  4. Add garlic, tomato puree, tomatoes (break up with a spoon) and their liquid, wine, salt, bay leaf, oregano, pepper and parsley: bring to a boil.
  5. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 5 cups (about 1 1/2 hours). Remove bay leaf.
  6. Meatballs.
  7. Melt 1/2 tbsp each butter and oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
  8. Add onion and cook until lightly browned: transfter to mixing bowl and cool.
  9. Beat in egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and 1/2 cup sauce.
  10. Add ground beef and mix lightly until blended.
  11. Shape into 1 inch meatballs and in same pan onion were cooked in heat remaining butter and oil over medium heat.
  12. Brown meatballs about half at a time.
  13. Remove when brown and add to sauce.
  14. Pasta.
  15. Cook ziti in lg. pot in salted water to al dente per directions of package.
  16. Drain well and combine with meatball mixture.
  17. Spread in a shallow 4 quart casserole.
  18. Cover evenly with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  19. Bake uncovered in 350 oven for 30-35 minutes and cheese is golden brown.

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