Best Baked Ziti

Ziti al Forno-Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce is a favorite recipe for the holidays or even just for an Italian Sunday with family. The pasta al forno casserole is baked until it’s a cheesy and bubbly perfection. The ultimate Italian comfort food dish!

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For the Meat Sauce: – 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil – ¼ cup of onion chopped you can use sweet onion or yellow onion – 2 stalks celery diced – 2 carrot diced – 2 cloves garlic minced – 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef you could do a mixture of pork/beef or however you prefer – 1 cup dry white wine – 2-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes I use San Marzano – 6 fresh basil leaves – 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt – ¼ teaspoon black pepper – For the Ricotta Layer: – 2 pounds ricotta cheese – 2 eggs – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese – 1 Tablespoon finely minced Italian parsley leaves – Sea salt and ground black pepper – For the Pasta: – 16 ounces ziti penne rigate or mostaciolli pasta – ½ cup grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmegiano Reggiano divided – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided – fresh basil leaves

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prep Time

15 min


The recipe begins with a really nice ragu’ (aka, Bolognese or meat sauce). I usually have a container of homemade ragu’ in the fridge.  Yes, I’m that kind of an Italian mom. It’s the perfect sauce to enjoy when you’re not quite sure what to make for dinner (or as it happens in our house, lunch).

Can baked ziti be made ahead of time and frozen? Yes, it baked ziti can be made ahead. You could assemble the whole casserole and place covered in the refrigerator. The next day, you could bake it up. You could even place the baked ziti in two or three containers to freeze and use w To bake ziti after freezing: Let the casserole thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator and bake following directions below.


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