Ultimate Baked Ziti
- 3/4 lb. ziti pasta
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c. fresh ricotta
- 2 tbsp. thinly sliced basil, plus more for serving
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente; drain.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Add meat and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until browned. Drain fat.
- Add tomato paste and oregano and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes more, until slightly darkened. Add crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and flavors have melded, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.
- In a large bowl, combine sauce and pasta. Fold in ricotta, leaving large clumps. Spread about half of the pasta mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and Parmesan over the pasta. Top with the rest of the pasta mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Garnish with more basil before serving.