Baked Ziti

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on

 A wonderful baked ziti made with lean ground beef and a layer of sour cream.  This delicious baked pasta recipe makes enough for a crowd(or feed your family for dinner and leftovers!) and it will quickly become a family favorite!  It can be prepped ahead or even frozen before baking if desired!

Baked Ziti

Today I have such a delicious dinner recipe for you!  And as usual with my recipes, this one will feed a crowd!  Literally.  And if you’re just feeding your family and they love leftovers as much as mine, this will be perfect.  If you’re not serving a crowd(or a group of leftover lovers) you can always half this recipe.  This recipe as it is, makes a heaped 9×13 pan of deliciousness.   But I totally understand if you want to make a smaller batch.  But I have to tell you that the leftovers taste even better after all the flavors have had time to get to know each other.  Best leftovers ever!

Baked Ziti

Look at that full pan of delicious, tummy warming food!  This is exactly the kind of thing I want in the winter time.  This does take a bit of prep time, but if you’re like me, I don’t mind a little extra prep time when I’m rewarded with leftovers for days.  Plus, you can absolutely prep this whole pan in probably 30-40 minutes and then cover it and put it in the fridge to bake later or the next day or whatever.  It’s even freezable!

Baked Ziti

I have to say, I have also tried this recipe using provolone cheese for one of the layers of cheese and it is so tasty!  I don’t always have provolone on hand though, so I usually just use mozzarella.  It’s good either way, and a little less expensive using just mozzarella, or so I’ve found.

Baked Ziti

I couldn’t resist a shot of the side(kind of!).  You can see the little layer of sour cream.  Omg, yummy!  I know sour cream seems a bit strange, but it’s so good in this.  If you’re still a bit hesitant, ricotta cheese is also super yummy.  I’m not sure if either way is authentic.  To be honest, I didn’t even use ziti, I used rigatoni.  Whoops.  I’m not Italian, but I think this is pretty damn delicious anyways 😉  We love it served with a big serving of Caesar salad and maybe a piece of garlic toast too.  I hope you’ll give it a try!

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 15
Calories: 465 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce or use 1 small can tomato paste mixed with two cans water
  • 1 32 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar optional, only if needed for the sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 400 grams grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 750g package dry ziti pasta(or rigatoni or penne) cooked according to package directions
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, till translucent.  Add the ground beef and break up with a cooking utensil.  Brown the beef.  When almost done, add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the tomato sauce(or paste and water) and diced tomatoes.  Add the bay leaves, italian seasoning and thyme and salt and pepper as desired and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer till as thick as you'd like it.  I like to simmer mine as long as I can, but 20 minutes is enough.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  3. Once the sauce is done cooking, taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed, and the tablespoon of sugar if needed.  In a 9x13 pan, spread a small amount of the sauce along the bottom.  Add half the pasta, then half the sauce.  Top with the sour cream by dropping small spoonfuls all over the surface and then gently spreading them.  Top with half the cheese.  Add the rest of the pasta, then the rest of the sauce and finally the rest of the mozzarella cheese. 

  4. Place in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes until the sauce can be seen bubbling. Broil so that the top gets golden if desired, then let cool for a few minutes before serving alongside a green salad.

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charlotte Moore January 24, 2018 at

It really looks yummy. I like to use the whole wheat penne in recipes that call for pasta.

How many ounces or cups would the cheese be?

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2 Heidi @ Food Doodles January 25, 2018 at

I usually do too! It’s so yummy!

I believe 400 grams is about 14 ounces. It worked out to between 3 and 4 cups of grated cheese 😊

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