My dad, Mario, is Italian. Really, really Italian. Like, born in Italy, still speaks with an accent, eats more garlic than should be allowed, kind of Italian.
Because I grew up eating mainly Italian dishes, Italian is my preferred cooking style. Italian cooking is simple, delicious, and (for the most part) fairly nutritious. Stick around here long enough and you may end up smelling the garlic through the computer screen.
Baked Ziti has been a staple in our house for as long as I can remember. It’s not especially complicated, but the simplicity is what makes it so amazing.
That, and the cheese.
We like cheese in our family. Lots and lots of cheese. My dad’s Baked Ziti is a favorite among family and friends and the only reason it showed up on this week’s menu is because a friend of mine is coming for dinner and it was requested. Since it’s my first time posting a recipe, I figured I’d start with something easy and a crowd pleaser.
Just a note: My dad never measures when he cooks, so I had to guess on how much sauce and cheese were going into the pan.
Mario’s Baked Ziti
Serves roughly 8-10
1 pound ziti (or any short cut pasta such as penne)
3-4 cups homemade red sauce (with or without meat, your choice)
2½ (or more!) cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
Cook pasta in boiling, slightly salted water 1 minute less than per package instructions. Drain. Meanwhile, heat sauce over medium low heat until heated through. Add a good ladleful or two of sauce to empty pasta pot and return cooked pasta to pot. Stir to coat pasta evenly.
Spread a layer of sauce evenly over the bottom of the greased pan. Top with half of pasta, one cup of mozzarella cheese, and an even sprinkling of Parmesan.
Repeat with another layer of sauce, pasta, and cheeses. Spread a final, thin layer of sauce over the top. Top with any remaining cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven 45-50 or until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow baked ziti to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
So yummy! If you try this, leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it!