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Easy Baked Ziti
Perfectly baked noodles, hearty meaty tomato sauce, and three different types of cheese all baked up together to make this classic dish. But just because it taste like a million bucks, doesn't mean it should be difficult to make! We're breaking it down to make the best Easy Baked Ziti for a hearty dinner tonight and leftovers for days.
- Pre-heat oven to 400ºF and set a 9 x 13” baking pan on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions state. Drain the pasta through a colander and return to the pot and mix together with a splash of olive oil.
- Make the meat sauce: Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Once hot add onions and garlic cook for 3-4 minutes. Add meat and cook until no pink remains, about 7 minutes. Add marinara sauce, italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the pan and combine. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. The longer you can let simmer, the better! Taste and adjust spices as desired then remove from heat.
- Prepare ricotta mixture: in a medium bowl by combining ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, garlic powder, eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- Combine the cooked pasta and the meat sauce.
- Transfer half of the ziti in the 9x13 pan. Then dollop in scoops of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle over 1 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat another layer with the pasta, followed by the ricotta and then the reamaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbling and golden in spots.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.
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