I am always looking for easy meals that I can put together in under 30 minutes. This ziti can also be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator and reheated for 15 minutes before serving!
I know I might not be in the majority, but I don’t love all that cheese that go in traditional baked ziti. You know what I’m talking about, soft cheese, like ricotta? Nope, no likey. That’s basically why this ziti is so easy, it only has shredded mozzarella for cheese. Oh and maybe some grated Parmesan for topping, but that’s it. And that’s the reason why picky kids love this ziti too. It’s simple. And crazy delicious.
Funny, I said picky kids, but I am even pickier than my kids are! So maybe I should rephrase that and say “picky eaters”? Either way, this dish is easy and mostly everyone loves it. That is if you like pasta, meat sauce and cheese. That’s mostly everyone, right?
I used an organic spelt pasta that they sell a Target which everyone really liked. You can use whatever pasta you choose, gluten-free, penne, whatever you’d like. I also used ground turkey instead of beef but again, use what you’d like. Be open minded for this recipe, anything goes! Well, let’s not get crazy now. Almost anything.
The Easiest Baked Ziti
- 1 pound pasta of choice
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground basil
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook for 7 minutes until al dente.
In a medium skillet, add the ground turkey. Cook for 15 minutes until no longer pink and thoroughly cooked. Set aside.
In a large skillet, add the oil. Cook the onion and garlic over medium-high heat for 3–4 minutes until soft. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, making sure to stir every few minutes so the sauce doesn’t stick. Spoon some sauce into a 21⁄2-quart casserole dish so the bottom is covered (to ensure the pasta won’t stick to the bottom). Take 1 cup of sauce mixture and set aside. Spoon the meat into the remaining sauce.
Add pasta to meat sauce and mix well.
Add mozzarella cheese, mix again. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent drying and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Let sit for 10 minutes, and serve with the reserved cup of sauce.
If you want to make this even easier, you can also use whatever tomato sauce you’d like. I usually make a double batch of this sauce and either freeze it or keep in my refrigerator. Again, I am all about making life easier. Life gets to busy sometimes and meals like this are perfect for those nights. What’s your favorite dinner for those hectic nights?
Thanks for stopping by!