Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baked Ziti

Our friends Jenn and DJ just recently had a beautiful baby boy; so I went into my automatic "what can I make for the new parents" mode, and made the decision to bring them baked ziti. I actually make this for a lot of my friends who have new babies; because it's so easy to make, transport, and reheat - and it's absolutely DELICIOUS.

Chuck does not like ricotta cheese so when I went searching long ago for a baked ziti recipe and found this one with no ricotta I saved it right away. You don't even miss the ricotta though - with provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, and sour cream adding all their cheesey and creamy flavors to this dish.

If you are going to split this into two separate meals, either to bring to someone else or to freeze, use 2 8 x 8 (or 9 x 9) baking dishes. You can see here that I used an 8 x 8 for us and had a slightly larger one for the new mom and dad, but it worked out fine. Do not bake the one that you are saving/giving away - just refrigerate after assembly. Then bring it to room temperature when ready to eat and cook as directed.

Baked Ziti
slightly adapted from
Makes 8 servings

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 - 1 1/3 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 (26 ounce) jars marinara sauce (when I don't use my own I like Prego)
6 ounces sliced provolone cheese (8 slices)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray one 13 x 9 baking dish or two 8 x 8 (or 9 x 9) baking dishes with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Drain fat if necessary. Add marinara sauce, simmer 15 minutes.

If using a 13 x 9 dish layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. For an 8 x 8 dish layer each dish with 1/4 of the ziti, 4 slices Provolone cheese, 1/2 of the sour cream, 1/4 sauce mixture, 1/4 of the ziti, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 of the sauce mixture.

Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheeses are melted.

Nothing says comfort food like a pot of pasta and a sauce simmering...

Welcome to the world, Beckett!


What's Cookin Chicago said...

Looks delicious and comforting!

Maria said...

I love baked pasta! It is so easy, but so tasty and filling!

nicole said...

I've made this same recipe. I liked it alot with the sour cream. It gave it a little bit of a different flavor.

The Blonde Duck said...

You're so sweet! I may not be a new parent, but I'm still making this!

Anonymous said...

mmm love baked ziti :)

Julie said...

The ziti looks wonderful...if I have a baby will you bring me some??

Domestic Kate said...

This looks delicious - it's on our menu to try this week! I'm not a ricotta fan, either, so I was glad to see this.

Anonymous said...

I made this for my family twice. I ended up using 3 jars of sauce the second time and it was a much bigger hit. Thanks so much for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I looked for a no-ricotta recipe because somehow I forgot it when I went shopping. Honestly I don't think I'll make it with ricotta anymore,this recipe was delicious and sour cream is way less expensive than ricotta. It won raves from my family and I think will be my go-to baked pasta from now on. Thanks!