Baked ziti is delicious! I love the mix of pasta, sauce and cheese baked to a nice, melty mix. I made my old version of this and the addition of ricotta makes this even more decadent and delicious. This is a great meal with a nice salad and some garlic bread. You can also make this ahead and just put it in the oven when ready, perfect for potlucks and new parents!
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1.5 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1.5 lbs ziti
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz each)
1/4 cup chopped basil
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Mix ricotta and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl. Add some salt and pepper. Set aside.
3) Heat a large pot of salted water to boil and cook ziti to box instructions till al dente. Reserve 1.5 cups of pasta water and drain.
4) Dry the pasta pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and red pepper and heat on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer till thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add some salt and pepper and stir in the cooked ziti and reserved pasta water.
5) Pour half the pasta mix into a baking dish. Dollop large spoonfuls of ricotta over the top. Pour remaining pasta over it. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella and Parmesan.
6) Bake for 35 minutes until it’s bubbling and the cheese has browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.