If you are a big fan of baked ziti and its meaty flavors, you probably want to try your hand at this classic dish, and fortunately, it’s a super simple meal to make. It’s somewhat akin to lasagna and has Italian origins, but has evolved into an American casserole that everyone will love.
How To Make San Giorgio Baked Ziti
Making baked ziti needs:
- Ricotta cheese: this makes the bake creamy and delicious, giving it a slightly tangy flavor.
- Parmesan: grated Parmesan offers the bake just a little more “zing” and provides some Italian flare.
- Mozzarella: no pasta dish is truly complete without stringy mozzarella sticking it all together and giving it a satisfying texture.
- Pasta sauce: you can use any homemade or store-bought pasta sauce, depending on how much time you want to spend making this meal. Just make sure it is packed with flavor!
- Ground beef: try to choose an 85/15 or an 80/20 meat so that your meal is neither greasy nor dry. This gives you the perfect blend of fat, and will make the dish succulent and rich, without being overwhelming.
Tips & Tricks
With your basic ziti recipe sorted, let’s look at some tricks for making this dish outstanding!
- Use a rich pasta sauce. This will be responsible for most of the flavor in the dish, so the nicer it tastes, the better your food will be. If you are making your own from scratch, make sure you include plenty of herbs and spices to bump up the flavor.
- Try other cheeses if you aren’t keen on this combination. You can add almost any cheese that you like to this recipe. Things like cream cheese will result in a creamier flavor, or you can add sour cream or Greek yogurt for a tangier dish.
- If possible, grate your own cheeses, rather than purchasing pre-grated. Block cheeses will melt much better, as pre-grated cheeses are usually coated to stop them from clumping.
- Only cook your ziti until it is al dente to start with. It will get another 30 minutes of bubbling away in a rich sauce, and you don’t want it to end up mushy.
- Add some Italian sausage to your ground beef to bump up the flavor and meaty aspect of the meal.
- Add chopped vegetables to the sauce if you want to make this dish healthier and more interesting. While you want the meat to be the star of the show, a few bell peppers or zucchinis will only enrich the dish.
See Also: Types of Pasta
Can you freeze baked ziti?
Yes, as long as you have plenty of sauce. Pasta can turn a little dry when frozen, but if it is smothered in rich, moist tomato, it should keep beautifully well. When you want to get it out of the freezer, simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and then heat it in the oven or microwave.
Do you have to use ziti?
Ziti is a slightly unusual pasta, so don’t worry if you can’t get hold of it. Penne pasta or rigatoni should work just as well. You want pasta with holes so that the sauce can soak right through it.
Do you need meat for baked ziti?
No, there are many vegetarian versions of this recipe. Swap in a meat substitute, some mushrooms, or just enjoy the tomato sauce, cheese, and pasta as it is. Some people also add an egg to help bind the ingredients.
Other Delicious Recipes
Baked ziti is a satisfying, filling meal that is perfect for cold winters. It’s also very quick and easy to make, freezes well, and can be adapted to fit in with many dietary requirements – so what’s not to love?
Whip up a few batches of this for easy weeknight dinners.