Baked Ziti Recipe
1 pound ziti (can sub penne) pasta
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef or pork
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-2 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces each) or 4 16 oz jars
1/2 to 1 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, for garnish
Fresh minced parsley, for garnish
1 Heat a large pot of water (2 quarts of water) to a strong boil. Add 1/2-1 tsp of salt. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm to the bite, 8-13 minutes
Drain the pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.
2 While the water is heating in the previous step, start on the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the bulk sausage or ground meat. Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks. Brown well.
Don’t stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown. If you are using ground beef or pork instead of sausage, sprinkle with a little salt.
3 When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and spices, stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in tomatoes.
4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray casserole dish with Pam.
5 Layer a little sauce, pasta, more sauce, cheese in 9×13 inch casserole dish.
6 Bake 20 min: Bake in oven at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle parsley and Parmesan cheese on top.