Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

Pasta al Forno means pasta baked in the oven and this can be any type of pasta. This is usually done with cheese and tomato sauce. Rigatoni and penne are popular choices, but today I went with ziti. You can substitute the Grana Padano cheese with pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese if you prefer the flavor. There are many variations of meat sauce you can use also. This dish is a great choice when hosting a large amount of people for holidays.

Pasta al Forno

Ingredients:

For The Meat Sauce

  • 25 oz. Tomato Passata I recommend Mutti Tomato Puree if you don’t have homemade passata
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Pork
  • 1/4 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/3 Sweet Onion chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 5 Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste

For The Pasta al Forno

  • 12 oz. Ziti
  • 13 oz. Fresh Ricotta
  • 2 1/4 cups Mozzarella Cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Grana Padano Cheese shredded
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful Parsley chopped

For the Meat Sauce

Add a drizzle of olive oil into a pot or dutch oven. Add the pork and beef and cook until all of the water is removed and the meat has browned. Make sure to continuously stir, using a wooden spoon, to cook evenly.

Mix in the tomato paste and then add in the garlic and onion. Sauté for about two minutes.

Pour in the wine. Let simmer for about four minutes until the alcohol is evaporated.

Pour in the tomato sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Break apart the basil leaves and add into the sauce. Mix all together and simmer over low heat for an hour.

For The Pasta al Forno

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the ziti and cook for three minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and set aside in the empty pot or large bowl. This can be prepared while the meat sauce is cooking.

Preheat oven to 400°F and place rack in middle position.

In a large mixing bowl, add in the fresh ricotta, egg, half of the parsley, half of the Grana Padano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese and mix together until fully combined.

Add two ladleful’s of the meat sauce into the cheese mix and mix together until fully combined. Take a large scoop of the cheese mix and place into a separate small bowl and set aside.

Add the cooked ziti into the cheese mix and mix all together until the pasta is fully coated. Add another ladleful of the meat sauce and mix.

In a deep baking dish (10″ x 10″), add a ladleful of the meat sauce and spread evenly over the bottom. Add half of the mixed ziti and spread evenly. Pour a ladleful of the meat sauce on top of the first layer of ziti and then sprinkle half of the remaining Grana Padano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese on top.

Add the remaining ziti and spread evenly. Add the cheese mix that was set aside in a separate small bowl on top of the second layer of ziti and spread evenly. Add two ladleful’s of the meat sauce all over the top.

Place into the oven and bake for twenty minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Grana Padano cheese and mozzarella cheese on top. Place back into the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about five to ten minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for about ten minutes before serving. Salute! Cin cin!

Pasta al Forno

Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

Pasquale Sciarappa
Pasta al Forno is a classic dish made up of baked pasta with a cheesy meat sauce. Simple dish to make for the holiday season!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian

Ingredients
  

For The Meat Sauce

  • 25 oz. Tomato Passata I recommend Mutti Tomato Puree if you don't have homemade passata
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Pork
  • 1/4 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/3 Sweet Onion chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 5 Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste

For The Pasta al Forno

  • 12 oz. Ziti
  • 13 oz. Fresh Ricotta
  • 2 1/4 cups Mozzarella Cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Grana Padano Cheese shredded
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful Parsley chopped

Instructions
 

For The Meat Sauce

  • Add a drizzle of olive oil into a pot or dutch oven. Add the pork and beef and cook until all of the water is removed and the meat has browned. Make sure to continuously stir, using a wooden spoon, to cook evenly.
  • Mix in the tomato paste and then add in the garlic and onion. Sauté for about two minutes.
  • Pour in the wine. Let simmer for about four minutes until the alcohol is evaporated.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Break apart the basil leaves and add into the sauce. Mix all together and simmer over low heat for an hour.

For The Pasta al Forno

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the ziti and cook for three minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and set aside in the empty pot or large bowl. This can be prepared while the meat sauce is cooking.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F and place rack in middle position.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the fresh ricotta, egg, half of the parsley, half of the Grana Padano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese and mix together until fully combined.
  • Add two ladleful's of the meat sauce into the cheese mix and mix together until fully combined. Take a large scoop of the cheese mix and place into a separate small bowl and set aside.
  • Add the cooked ziti into the cheese mix and mix all together until the pasta is fully coated. Add another ladleful of the meat sauce and mix.
  • In a deep baking dish (10" x 10"), add a ladleful of the meat sauce and spread evenly over the bottom. Add half of the mixed ziti and spread evenly. Pour a ladleful of the meat sauce on top of the first layer of ziti and then sprinkle half of the remaining Grana Padano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Add the remaining ziti and spread evenly. Add the cheese mix that was set aside in a separate small bowl on top of the second layer of ziti and spread evenly. Add two ladleful's of the meat sauce all over the top.
  • Place into the oven and bake for twenty minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Grana Padano cheese and mozzarella cheese on top. Place back into the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about five to ten minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for about ten minutes before serving.

Video

Keyword baked ziti, meat sauce, mozzarella, pasta al forno
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