Cheesy Baked Ziti


Posted: April 8

Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

recipe image

Baked Ziti is such a simple meal to prepare for a long week or for large amounts of people! It's comforting, filling, and totally satisfying. Serve with a side caesar salad, garlic bread, or steamed veggies for a balanced meal. There are few crowd-pleasers more pleasing than Cheesy Baked Ziti. The cheese layers are melty, bubbly, creamy and stretchy—exactly what you look for in a cheesy delight. In between the cheese is tender pasta coated in a savory seasoned meat sauce that you’ll never forget! Cheesy Baked Ziti is perfect for Sunday night dinners and enjoying with family and friends, who will all be amazed at what you’ve cooked for them!


Ingredients

• 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste • 1 large yellow onion, diced • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary • 2 (24 ounce) jars marinara sauce • 2 cups water • 1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta • 1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese, divided • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes and divided • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated and divided • flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, optional, chopped, to taste

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2

Spray a large 9x15-inch baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. Set aside.

Step 3

Remove the hot and sweet Italian sausages from the sausage casings.

Step 4

In a large saucepan over high heat, heat the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Step 5

Add the sausage and onion to cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon.

Step 6

Cook until the sausage has browned and the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 7

Add in the oregano, thyme, and rosemary and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 8

Add the sauce and water, stir well while bringing the sauce to a simmer.

Step 9

Bring the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent separation.

Step 10

Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Step 11

Bring a large pot of saltwater to a boil.

Step 12

Add the ziti and cook 1-2 minutes less than recommended by the package instructions for al dente.

Step 13

Drain the pasta and transfer it to a bowl.

Step 14

Add the meat sauce to the pasta bowl and stir carefully until well combined.

Step 15

Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1/2 of the pasta and sauce to the prepared baking dish.

Step 16

Top the pasta mixture in the baking dish with 1/2 of the ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, and 1/2 of the Romano, evenly distributed.

Step 17

Top the cheese layer with the remaining pasta and sauce mixture and repeat the process with the remaining cheese.

Step 18

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 30-35 minutes.

Step 19

Allow to cool slightly.

Step 20

Serve, topped with the parsley!


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