Let’s make a rich pasta bake today! And what do you think about baked ziti?
I guess I watched too many Sopranos episodes over the last weeks… In it loads of baked ziti are put on the dinner table to feed an army of mafia goons and their families. But where does the name come from?
Well ziti refers to the specific type and shape of pasta that you need for this dish. Ziti is long in shape. You might think it looks like small rigatoni and is also similar to penne. However its ends are mostly straight instead of cut diagonally.
I am making a simple and homemade spaghetti tomato sauce from scratch. But of course if you haven’t got the time to make a batch from scratch, just add ready made sauce. The deli around the corner here sells a good old spaghetti sauce, which I sometimes use for this lush ziti pasta bake. And other meat sauce based dishes such as lasagna or a Greek moussaka.
Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe
One thing that you need to keep in mind: don’t overcook the pasta. The ziti will cook further on in the oven for another half hour together with the rest of the ingredients. We’re looking for some bite here! So here it is then: my oven baked ziti or ziti pasta topped off with a rich tomato meat sauce, sour cream and loads of gooey cheese…
Italian comfort food at its best! Buon appetito, fellas.
Do you love baked pasta dishes?
Then also check out my Greek pastitio!
- 1 ⅓ lbs ziti or penne (600 g)
- 1 lb ground beef (450 g)
- 1 lb canned chopped tomatoes (450 g)
- 3 large garlic cloves peeled
- 1 large onion chopped finely
- 1 glass red wine
- 5,5 oz sour cream (155 g)
- 7 oz grated cheese (155 g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium and then add the chopped onion.
Stir fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the ground beef and season with pepper and salt.
- Cook the beef for 5 minutes until it starts to brown. Break up any lumps. Pour in the red wine.
- Cook for another 3 minutes. Then transfer 5 tablespoons of the cooked beef mince to a clean plate and put it aside for later. Add the canned chopped tomatoes to the remaining mince in the hot pan. Season with pepper and salt.
- Stir well and cook the tomato sauce for 10 minutes. In the meantime bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and then add the ziti.
- Cook the ziti until almost al dente and drain. Add the sour cream and a handful of grated cheese to a large mixing bowl. Season with pepper and salt.
- Stir into a creamy mixture and then add the cooked pasta.
- Stir well again. Sprinkle a large ceramic baking dish with a little olive oil, pepper and add half of the creamy pasta.
Then top with half of the tomato sauce and half of the grated cheese. Season with pepper and salt. Add the rest of the pasta and cover again with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the cooked mince you kept aside. Finish with a generous layer of grated cheese and a last sprinkle of pepper.
- Bake the ziti in a preheated oven at 392°F (200°C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Cut the ziti up and serve hot.