Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe
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Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe

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Indulge in the comforting flavors of this classic Baked Ziti Casserole! Al dente ziti pasta, coated in a rich tomato sauce, layered with creamy ricotta cheese, and topped with a generous blanket of melted mozzarella. This hearty and satisfying dish is perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying as a cozy family dinner.

Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (or ground beef)
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Cook the pasta: Cook the ziti pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ground Italian sausage (or ground beef) to the skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat from the skillet. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld together.
  4. Assemble the casserole: In the prepared baking dish, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Add half of the cooked ziti pasta on top of the sauce. Dollop half of the ricotta cheese over the pasta. Pour half of the remaining tomato sauce over the ricotta cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce.
  5. Top with cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the casserole is heated through.
  7. Serve: Remove the Baked Ziti Casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Enjoy the deliciously cheesy and comforting goodness of this Baked Ziti Casserole, a classic Italian-inspired dish that’s sure to please everyone at the table!

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