Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday | Baked Ziti


I'm excited to announce a new post series on my blog... What's Cooking Wednesday!  I'll be joining forces with Steph at The Kat Almanac to bring you a new recipe-inspired post each week.  So get excited! :-)

This week, I'll be kicking off the series by making Baked Ziti (adapted from The Pioneer Woman).

What You Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Italian herbs 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional, to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces dried pasta, prepared
  • 1 15-ounce tub ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg

What To Do:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Chop up your onion and garlic.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet at medium-high heat, then toss in the onion and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

Add your meat to the onion and garlic (I used ground beef) and cook it until no longer pink.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and dump in your jar of marinara sauce, herbs, chili powder (if desired), and salt and pepper, to taste.  (I used ~1 tbsp parsley, ~1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning, and ~1 tsp chili powder.)

Mix it up and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile...  Prepare and drain your pasta.

I used whole-wheat penne instead of ziti.  I'm a bad, bad girl.  ;-)

Dump the ricotta and approximately two cups of shredded mozzarella into a bowl.  Add the egg and mix to combine.

(When I made mine, I added too much mozzarella at this stage and didn't have enough to top the ziti at the end.  Learn from my mistakes!)

Next, add the drained pasta to your cheese mixture and toss gently to mix them together.  (It is ok, and even preferable, to still have large chunks of cheese mixed in with your pasta!)

Grab your sauce, and dump half of it into the bowl with the pasta and cheese.


Gently stir to combine the sauce with the pasta mixture.

Spray a 13x9 pan/casserole dish with cooking spray and spoon half of your sauce-cheese-pasta mixture into the pan.


Layer in half of your remaining sauce and spread it around to cover the pasta mixture.  Top with a layer of mozzarella.

Repeat, layering the remaining pasta, then sauce, then more mozzarella.


This is where I wish I had more cheese to spread around.  Sigh.

Toss your dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.

Serve with a nice side salad and/or some bread, and you've got yourself a meal!


  1. Replies
    1. Awesome, you will have to let me know how it goes! :-)

    2. It turned out very well! I used more sauce and meat and I took your advice with the cheese! haha! Keep the recipes coming. That was easy and tasty! :-)