Baked Ziti is a dish that you find on almost every buffet table for any occasion that everyone looks forward to. It is not only delicious, but it is most definitely a crowd pleaser.
Ingredients for Meat Sauce
2- 28 oz cans San Marzano Tomatoes – crushed
2-6 oz cans Tomato Paste
1 Large Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Lb Ground Beef – Lean
1 Lb Ground Pork
2 TBSP Fresh Parsley
3 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Ingredients for Cheese Mixture
2 Lb Ricotta Cheese
1 Lb Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 TBSP Parsley, Chopped
1 Lb Zita Pasta
Additional grating cheese for serving
Instructions for Meat Sauce
In a heavy bottom stock pot, add the olive oil. Slice the onion and add to the hot oil. Cook on medium heat until brown, be careful not to burn. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add to the pot. Let cook an additional minute or two. Remove the onion and garlic from the pot. Throw away the onion and save the garlic for later.
Add the ground beef and ground pork to the pot. Season the meat with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon parsley. Chop the reserved garlic cloves and add them to the meat. Let brown completely. Drain any visible fat from the meat.
Add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Fill each empty can of tomato paste with water and add it to the pot. Put a small amount of water in the San Marzano empty cans to remove any leftover tomatoes from the can and add to the pot.Over medium heat, let the tomato and meat mixture come to a low boil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 1 hour over low heat.
Instructions for Cheese Mixture
Add all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix.
Instructions for assembling the Baked Ziti
Cook the Ziti following the package directions. Do not overcook. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain.
In a large baking bowl, combine the hot pasta and cheese mixture. Add the meat/sauce mixture until it is very moist and well combined.
Pour into large baking pan. Top with additional meat sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling hot.