Baked Ziti

Every Tuesday I take food over to my grandparents-in-law. I’m not sure if that’s really a word, but you get the gist. They like casseroles and comfort food, and I try to make something that will give them a hot meal and also provide my little family with leftovers. I also have to make sure that the food is easy to eat.

This week I wanted to try something different, so I started looking through various cookbooks for ideas. I decided on a skillet baked ziti from my America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. And then because I didn’t write down the correct size of canned tomatoes when I went to the grocery store, I ended up modifying the recipe. I did not plan to write about this recipe, so I didn’t take pictures as I went. However, my husband raved about the ziti and how I needed to make it again, so I thought I would share the recipe!

4 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar of pasta sauce (I used Classico’s spicy tomato and basil)
1 box of penne pasta (I used Barilla)
½ c whole-milk ricotta
½ c heavy whipping cream
½ c parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil + additional for garnish
1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

I began by preheating the oven to 475 degrees and pulling out my dutch oven. I love using the dutch oven because it can go on the stove and then directly in the oven! I heated a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat and then sautéed the minced garlic with red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper. Next, I stirred in the pasta sauce and moved the heat down to low.

In a separate pot, I boiled water and added the penne pasta. I cooked it for about 12 minutes and then drained the water. My noodles then got added to the dutch oven and stirred in to the sauce.

In a little bowl, I combined the ricotta with 1 tsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper. I then set it aside.

Next, the whipping cream, parmesan cheese, and basil were added to the pasta mixture. Once it was stirred in well, I dolloped the ricotta mixture over the top of the pasta and then sprinkled the mozzarella on top of that. I then turned the stove off and transferred the dutch oven to the oven for ten minutes. This made the cheese melt and brown in color. Once it was done, I removed it and added more basil to the top!

Baked Ziti

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 😊


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