Having to come up with something for dinner every night is always a challenge. I want to come up with something that will make my family happy without spending hours in the kitchen. I want my family to like what I make, but I want it to be something that will stick with them for a while.
Baked ziti is the definition of comfort food. The layers of ooey gooey cheese combined with pasta and tasty tomato sauce is hearty and satisfying. Plus it has all the flavors of lasagna with only a fraction of the prep time.
Whenever I make baked ziti for dinner, I can count on the fact that the kids are going to eat all their food. My kids will clean their plates and ask for seconds! This easy recipe contains just five ingredients so dinner comes together in a snap.
Even though this dinner takes a bit of time to cook, the amount of prep time it takes is very minimal.
Baked ziti is an especially great meal in the winter because it’s so warm and comforting. But let’s face it: there’s never a bad time for pasta! You can make this meal any time of year. I often make it even in the summer because it’s guaranteed to be a hit at the dinner table.
Many of us are trying to eat healthier. For lots of us, that means reducing red meat in particular. Even if you just dedicate one meal each week to leave out the meat (like “meatless Monday”) it’s still healthier to skip the meat once in a while.
Baked Ziti Recipe
This recipe is a winner because it’s completely vegetarian. But you’ll never miss the meat because the cheese provides lots of protein and substance to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Even the burliest of men are not likely to miss the meat in a meal like this.
If you’re going to a potluck, this also makes a perfect dish to pass. It’s both easy and inexpensive to make. It’s also a great choice for a meal to take for a meal train, such as when a family has a new baby or has been sick.
This is also a great recipe for teaching kids how to cook. With simple steps and so few ingredients, it’s an easy introduction in how to follow a recipe. It’s a meal every cook should have in their repertoire.
One of the best parts about this recipe is that even though it’s simple, you can customize it any way you want. You can use any shape of noodles you have on hand. If you really need some meat, Italian sausage or ground beef both work well in the dish. You can doctor it up with some Italian seasoning or make it spicier by adding a little bit of crushed red pepper.
And even though this is the main course, you may still want to serve it with side dishes. A garden salad and some breadsticks or garlic bread make perfect accompaniments. Bon appetit!Print
Layers of cheese, sauce and ziti pasta.
- 12 ounces ziti
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
- 2½ cups pasta sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook ziti according to the package direction; drain.
- Combine the ricotta cheese, 1½ cups of the mozzarella cheese and seasoning, mix well.
- Spoon ½ cup of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Top with 1/3 of the cooked ziti and half of the ricotta mixture.
- Pour over ½ cup of the pasta sauce.
- Repeat the layers.
- Top with the remaining pasta, the remaining 1 cup of sauce and remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 35 Minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: ziti pasta, baked ziti recipe