I know it’s quite a claim to call this Best-Ever Baked Ziti recipe the best ever, but wait until you try this Best-Ever Baked Ziti. One bite, and we’re pretty sure you’ll agree.
This truly is the Best-Ever Baked Ziti recipe!!
Watch us show you how to make what we believe truly is the Best-Ever Baked Ziti!
You can do it! Watch, laugh…and get ready to make the Best-Ever Baked Ziti recipe!
Of course, the sum of this dish is greater than it’s parts. But…the parts are pretty amazing, too. And that starts with a robust, deeply flavorful meat sauce. You can easily make the marinara sauce several days in advance.
In fact, you can make it weeks in advance because it freezes beautifully! Mmmmm…meat sauce.
Using top quality ingredients is key to making this the best-ever baked ziti recipe, as well. Seek out top-quality ricotta cheese and mozzarella.
We just can’t stress this enough. This dish serves a nice-sized gathering of friends and family.
Just look at all that Italian deliciousness!
So comforting and delicious!
We live for homemade Baked Ziti!!
Give this dish the kind of love you would your best friends and closest relatives, and the love it gives you back in return will make your heart sing!
Ah…the Best-Ever Baked Ziti really is simply the BEST!
Now, make this Best-Ever Baked Zite recipe! You can make this up to 2 weeks in advance and freeze. Let thaw before baking.
Best-Ever Baked Ziti
- fresh marinara sauce or quality store-bought
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 celery stalks chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 lb ground beef
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 5 cups fresh marinara sauce click for recipe
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
FOR THE BAKED ZITI
- 16 oz quality ricotta cheese
- 16 oz quality mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese finely shredded
- 1 lb dried ziti
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
MAKE THE MEAT SAUCE
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until soft, about 7 - 10 minutes.
Crumble the sausage with your hands into the pot and then add the beef. Cook until almost no longer pink.
Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each.
At this point, if too much grease has rendered, you can drain it off.
Add the wine and cook until liquid is almost all gone, about 4 - 5 minutes.
Add the prepared marinara and tomato paste and simmer for 1 hour.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Set aside until ready to assemble dish.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE ZITI
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook the ziti according to package instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large baking dish (a lasagna dish/pan works well), ladle a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish.
Add a layer of cooked ziti.
Top with dollops of ricotta and then about 3/4 cup of mozzarella.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top of that.
Repeat this process again.
Top with a handful of pasta, then another layer of the sauce, a 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and another 1/4 of Parmesan on top.
Baked, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly browned on top and bubbly.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
NOTE: The cook time does NOT include the preparing the marinara sauce. We recommend you make this in advance. It freezes beautifully. Also, the marinara recipe makes more sauce than you may end up using for this ziti recipe. Keep it on hand for plenty of other amazing uses!