- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, with juice
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) tomato sauce or marinara
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 oz ziti or mostaccioli, cooked until not quite al dente
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 pound grated Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- Fresh minced parsley
- In large skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for several minutes until soft. Add Italian sausage and ground beef to skillet and brown meat. Drain most of fat, retaining some for flavor and moisture.
- Add tomatoes with their juice, tomato sauce or marinara, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir mixture a few times, not mixing completely.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process and to cool it down. Pour noodles into the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine, leaving large lumps. Add the 3-4 cups cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
- Add half the pasta mixture to a large 5 quart Dutch Oven. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the pasta mixture, sauce, and mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Credit: Pioneer Woman – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/baked-ziti/
Note: This feeds a large crowd but could easily be halved for a smaller amount of people.