Everyone seems to love Italian food. One favorite is Italian baked ziti. Pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, what's not to love? Unfortunately though, it can be quite expensive and inconvenient to visit an Italian restaurant when craving a plate of authentic Italian baked ziti if you are in the wrong part of the world. With a few simple steps, you and your family can be enjoying that delicious plate of baked ziti at home.
- Preheat oven to 350° F (225° C).
- Boil ziti according to package directions. When finished, drain thoroughly and place back in pot. Mix a few tablespoons of tomato sauce with Ziti so that macaroni does not stick together.
- In large mixing bowl combine Ricotta, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, seasonings to taste. Make sure everything is incorporated well. This will be your cheesy filling to your baked ziti! Set aside, but not for long as mixture does have raw egg in it.
- Place tomato coated ziti into aluminum baking pan. Dollop the Ricotta mixture across the ziti. Follow with shredded cheese and tomato sauce, building layers as you go.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook 45 minutes to one hour. Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or till cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
You can find Mozzarella in the dairy department. You can choose part-skim or whole milk mozzarella, as the only difference is the milk used to make the cheese, but do buy the whole block not pre-shredded. Shredded Mozzarella cheese tends to dry out, and it only takes a few minutes to shred it at home. Same rules apply for the ricotta as the mozzarella. Choose a good brand, but the choice of part-skim or whole milk is up to you.
Home made Italian tomato sauce is the preferred option. Trust me, it will make a complete world of difference. Tomato sauce in a jar does not come half as good for baked ziti.
You can substitute Parmesan cheese with Peccorino Romano. If you choose to purchase something expensive, such as real Parmesan cheese or Peccorino Romano, buy it by the block and grate it at home.
You'll also need a large aluminum baking pan, large mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing spoons. large pot, strainer, aluminum foil and a cheese grater.
Season with salt, pepper, dry Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, or garlic to your taste.