Here is how simple Baked Ziti is to whip up!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1# ground beef or 1# italian sausage or 1# ground pork (Whatever meat works for you. Or, if you don’t want meat, don’t use it. Personally, no meat is my thing.)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small red onion or shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan or romano or pecorino romano or whatever hard italian cheese you like
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil is fine)
1# Ziti (or any pasta you care to use. I like to use medium shells too.)
1. Fry ground beef in medium to large pot. When browned, remove from pot and set aside.
2. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to pot. Add diced onions or shallots, saute until opaque. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute.
3. Add crushed and diced tomatoes, brown sugar, parmesan, salt, oregano, thyme.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add basil and simmer for 10-20 more minutes. (You don’t have to cook sauce on the stove all day long. 30-60 minutes is perfect!)
5. While the sauce is simmering, boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Don’t forget to add salt to the pasta water. I add 1-2 Tablespoons of salt.
6. When pasta is done (don’t overcook!), drain and set aside.
7. Spray casserole dish with vegetable spray. (I use a 9×13 casserole dish) Add a ladle or two of sauce in the casserole dish.
8. Add the pasta on top of the sauce. Add more sauce on top of the pasta. Be generous. (I used most of the sauce. I had 1 cup of sauce I did not use.)
9. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Until top is golden brown. (Today that took 45 minutes)
Enjoy this simple and delicious meal!