Baked Ziti – Junk Food Post #5

Everyone loves Baked ZitiHow’s everyone feeling?  Still hungry?  Good because unResolution month rolls on!  Today’s suggestion comes courtesy of Spookygirl, who said her favorite bad for her comfort food is baked ziti, which she said is “75% cheese … [b]aked to a bubbly goodness.”

Now, I must admit, until the last few years, no one in my house ate ziti.  Our baked noddle dish of choice was always lasagna so it was only until recently that I understood the magic that is ziti.  And now, I share it with you!

Baked Ziti

Perhaps I’m not up on my baked noodle trivia, but it has always seemed to me that the big difference between lasagna and baked ziti is the difference between order and chaos.  Lasagna, it seems to these eyes, is neatly stacked layers of noodle, cheese, and sauce whereas baked ziti is a crazy free-for-all of noodles and cheese and ground beef or ground faux beef.  Two different philosophies on life, but both equally good!

Making Baked Ziti

Really, because ziti is more freeform, it is actually far easier to make than lasagnas.  To do it…

You will need:

  • 1 box penne noodles
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 1 pound ground hamburger or 1 package faux ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 recipe of Elegant Marinara (divided)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the package of penne pasta noodles according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  However, when boiling the noodles, make sure the water is salty and has a good amount of garlic powder.

While the water is boiling, brown the hamburger in a skillet with salt, pepper and oregano.  If using faux ground beef, crumble with a spatula.  The ground beef can be browned in two tablespoons of olive oil along with the oregano.

Also, while the water is boiling, mix 2 cups of the marinara and cream.

When the noodles are al dente (in other words firm, not floppy) drain them and pour them into a oven-safe dish.  Add the marinara/cream mix and the ricotta with the noddles.

Top with mozzarella, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese achieves the desired level of doneness.

Cut into pieces and top with more marinara.  Enjoy!

Thanks to robot-girl for the image.


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