There’s this little neighborhood pizzeria about two miles from our house that has the best baked ziti recipe I’ve ever eaten. I don’t claim to be a baked ziti expert, but I know a good Italian recipe when I taste one.
What I love most about their baked ziti is that it’s simple. Just the right amount of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, a sauce + ricotta ratio near to perfection, and barely a touch of their light marinara on top.
Did I mention ooey, gooey fresh mozzarella?
Over the weekend I decided to roll up my sleeves and take a stab at making baked ziti at home. I mean, it’s not difficult, and the ingredients are really no secret. And I, too, kept it simple – although I was lacking some of the fresh ingredients I would have preferred. Still, we were all pleased.
By the way, my easy homemade Italian bread (made the same afternoon) went perfectly!
- 1 23.5oz jar organic marinara sauce
- 3-1/2 cups dry ziti or penne pasta
- 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt + 2 tablespoons for the pasta water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bring water and 2 tablespoons of salt to boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook it to al dente. Drain.
- Mix the marinara, ricotta, ¾ cup mozzarella, ¼ cup Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and the basil together in a large bowl. Add the pasta, stirring gently to coat completely.
- Coat the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish with olive oil. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the baked ziti is bubbly and golden brown on top.