Easy Baked Ziti
photo by LilPinkieJ
- Ready In:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Boil ziti, following the package directions.
- Drain the ziti and place in a large bowl.
- Mix all the ricotta cheese with the ziti.
- Mix half of the mozzarella cheese with the ziti.
- Spray a large pan (larger than 13x9) with cooking spray.
- Cover the bottom half of the pan with half the pasta sauce.
- Put the ziti mixture on top of the sauce.
- Pour the remaining sauce on top of the ziti.
- Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and it is lightly golden.
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This recipe is "easy" but I can't say that I cared much for it as it was. Sooo...<br/>I browned up about 1/2 lb of lean ground pork to add a bit of protein value, and then added the sauce to it. Speaking of sauce, I like the Newman's Socarooni sauce.. but for a pound of pasta, two pounds or ricotta and a pound and a half of mozzarella.. a small jar of sauce simply wasn't enough to hold the balance.. so.. I doubled it. I also added a few good twists of black pepper, some crushed red pepper flake and some Italian-blend seasoning to the cheese mixture before assembling everything. I also took the cup and a half of cheese for the top and tossed it with a bit of Parmesan and a tablespoon and a half of olive oil (to eliminate the long stringing stretches of cheese when serving this beast.) before I layered it over the ziti and sauce. I increased the oven time to about 40 minutes to give the cheese a good brown and bubble character, and the second go at this dish turned out much better. My kids love it this way, so I'm not complaining.
I tried this recipe for the first time while on vacation. I had only a few minutes in a WalMart to shop for everything I would need so this recipe looked like a winner. I halved the recipe and used whole wheat pasta which came in a smaller box than 16 oz. I purchased part skim ricotta - 16 oz. I also only purchased 2 cups of part skim mozzarella so I had to make do. For the pasta sauce, I used Paul Newman's Socarooni sauce. I served this with a caesar bag salad and tomatoes with fresh basil and some of the shredded mozzarella. This fed 4 people very well. Very easy - almost TOO easy to be as good as it was!
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Well, I am basically a person looking to try out new recipes. I love to cook, bake, and grill foods and desserts. I like adding new things to my own recipes, to create new and better ones. I love Japanese, Mongolian, Italian, Irish, British, Middle-Eastern, Indian, Mexican, and All-American style restaurants. Cooking is my passion, and I hope to someday become a world famous chef!