This recipe goes back a long time, it makes two 12-1/2 x 8-inch disposable pans, I use my Kittencal's Italian Tomato Pasta Sauce and Parmesan Meatballs for this but you may use your favorite homemade sauce, you will need about 8 cups of pasta sauce or a little more if desired, chili flakes is only optional I like to add them in for some heat, you may adjust the amount to suit your taste or omit --- make certain to leave the frozen pan in the refrigerator overnight to thaw slightly before baking, and you will need about 2 cups of mozzarella cheese for the top after baking, this makes the perfect potluck meal and you also get to enjoy one pan :)
- 1 (16 ounce) boxuncooked ziti pasta (or use penne pasta)
- 2 lbs ground beef (or use 1 pound each) or 2 lbs Italian sausages, with casings removed (or use 1 pound each)
- 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes (to taste) (optional)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 -2 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 -3 teaspoons seasoning salt
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- 8 -10 cups favorite prepared pasta sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (you will need more to sprinkle on top after baking)
- 1 1⁄2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided (or to taste)
- In a large pot cook the pasta in boiling salted water until JUST al dente (leave the pasta still firm, do not overcook) drain but do NOT rinse.
- Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together; set adise.
- In a pot or Dutch oven cook the ground or sausage meat with chili flakes, if using and onion until beef is lightly browned; drain fat.
- Add in the garlic and bell pepper; cook stirring about 10 minutes.
- Season with seasoned salt or white salt and ground black pepper.
- Stir in the pasta sauce and reduce heat to low; simmer stirring for about 25-30 minutes.
- Mix in 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the cooked ziti pasta.
- Divide the mixture between two greased 12-1/2 x 8-inch disposable foil pans.
- Sprinkle about 3/4 cup or to taste of Parmesan cheese over each top of pan (do not bake).
- Cool completely then cover with heavy foil, freeze until ready to use or bake one right away!.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- TO BAKE; set oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake uncovered for about 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle about 2 cups mozzarella cheese on top, then return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.