- Cook the pasta: to a large pot water add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. When water is boiling add the pasta cook to al dente. Drain when ready.
- Meanwhile: in a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped onion and sauté until slightly golden, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef and cook over high heat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and chili flakes. Add tomato sauce and water. Simmer for 4-5 minutes and turn the heat off.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan. Then combined drained pasta with the meat sauce. Pour half of the pasta-meat mixture into the dish. Then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese and sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the parmesan. Pour the rest of the pasta-meat mixture of the cheese layer, then, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, and sprinkle on top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.
- Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Frequently asked questions:
CAN WE USE DIFFERENT PASTA?
Yes, you can, if you can’t find ziti pasta, you can substitute it penne or rigatoni. They will work the same and will give the same result.
IS BAKED ZITI BAKED COVERED OR UNCOVERED?
While some recipes call to cover baked ziti, I don’t find any reason to do it. You can bake your casserole for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and golden.
HOW TO STORE BAKED ZITI?
Baked ziti is at its best in the day of preparation. But you can store baked ziti, covered in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave before serving.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BAKED ZITI?
You can serve baked ziti with fresh salads, such as broccoli salad, chicken salad, or some side dishes.