Baked Ziti is not only the most ordered dish in every Italian-American restaurant but also a favorite in all homes. What’s most lovable about this savory dish is that, it’s healthy, nutritious, aromatic and, can be eaten by both the kids and the adults. In essence, there are two main steps involved in preparing.

Preparing The Sauce (Tomato Sauce):

Ingredients:

When preparing the sauce for the baked ziti, you’ll need one pound of ground turkey, three finely chopped garlic cloves, three cups of peeled and canned tomato puree, two tablespoons of virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of kosher salt, a teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning, fresh thyme, basil, ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and, 1/4 diced onion.

Preparation:

Start by first heating the oil over medium heat and then, add the garlic, onion, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and let them cook for five more minutes under medium high heat. Lastly, add the tomatoes followed by the fresh herbs and puree/sauce and bring them to boil. The sauce should be left to simmer while still covered for about 10-30 more minutes.

When fully cooked, season with pepper and salt.

Preparing Baked Ziti:

Ingredients:

To make a dish for six, you’ll need:

One pound dried ziti pasta, three cups of your tomato sauce, 3/4 cups of grated Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, half teaspoon of ground black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, kosher salt and cooking spray.

Preparation:

The first step towards making your baked ziti is to preheat the oven at 350°F. Then, boil water in a large pot, add salt and boil the pasta till tender, but firm, or according to the instructions shown on the package. When ready, drain the excess water but remember to leave about half a cup of its cooking water.

Next, add the sauce, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella, pepper flakes and the black pepper and mix lightly with the pasta. Then, transfer the pasta into a large enough baking or casserole dish that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle more Parmesan and mozzarella on top. Cover the dish and transfer it into an oven before letting it bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove the cover and let it bake for another 10 minutes or till the pasta starts turning light brown.

The best way of serving the baked ziti is when it’s still hot – as soon as you get it out of the oven.

In case your family ends up falling deeply in love with baked ziti; which is always the case, feel free to get a little creative and experiment with other ingredients as well, such as different types of cheese, herbs and sauce, such as garden vegetable or mushroom sauce.

Do you have a great baked ziti recipe?