Baked Ziti

by Ashley
(Grand View, Idaho USA)

Hey, I love your blog, your fried chicken recipe is awesome!
I had a question, do you have a southern spin on baked Ziti? Or possibly a homemade sauce that would go well( instead of having to buy the sauce)
I'm tryin to impress my boyfriend ( who loves southern food) his favorite food is. Baked Ziti, also if you have any ideas for sides, I'd love a recipe to go along with
the baked Ziti, thank you so much for your time.


Hey there Ashley!

I'm so glad you're enjoying my recipes!

That's really sweet of you to want to make your boyfriends favorite dish! I hope he knows how lucky he is!

Here's what I would do....

Here's what you are going to need:

For the sauce:
1 pound Mild Italian Sausage
3/4 pound of lean ground beef
1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounces each) of tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of dried parsley

For the baked ziti:
1 pound ziti
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 ounces of Provolone cheese, sliced
2 cups of Italian Blend Cheese, divided
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley, divided

*Note:Now this will probably make more sauce than you need but that's okay because it freezes really well. Just cool the sauce off, put it in a ziplock freezer bag, get out as much air as possible and pop it in the freezer and the next time you need a quick meal, thaw and pour over pasta.

Here's what you need to do:

In a Dutch Oven, brown the sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic. Drain.

Add the crushed tomatoes, sauce, paste, and the water.

Stir until well blended.

Add the Basil, Fennel Seeds, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Pepper, 2 tablespoons of Parsley and the sugar.

Stir until well blended. Cover and cook for at least 45 minutes but if you have the time, cook it for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, it will be even better.

When the sauce is finished, cook the package of ziti about 2 minutes less than it recommends on the package directions so that the ziti doesn't get mushy.

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with sauce.

Pour half of the ziti on top of the sauce.

Lay the slices of provolone cheese on top of the ziti.

Mix together 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese with the ricotta cheese and 1 Tablespoon of the parsley. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the ziti.

Cover with sauce.

Layer with the remaining ziti.

Top that with 1 1/2 cups of the Italian Blend Shredded Cheese.

Cover all of that with sauce.

Top with the other 1/2 cup of Italian Blend Cheese and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese. Sprinkle with the other 1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.

If you want to save some time, you can make the sauce the day before and just heat it up a little before you assemble the dish.

******To serve with it, I would recommend Garlic and Herb Bread Sticks and since the ziti is already pretty rich, I would serve it and the bread sticks with something light like a salad.

I hope that helps and I'd love to hear how everything turns out!

Warm Dishes,

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