mamma maria's baked ziti, pasta al forno

★★★★★ 5 Reviews
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By Lin Kev
from Wethersfield, CT

This recipe comes from my mom, she was the best cook. She thought me how to cook and she thought me well. She used to make this dish for Sunday dinner a lot. Although she is no longer with us I still make it. My kids love it when I make the ziti and so does my husband and he's Irish. Lol~ It's very filling because of the ingredients in it. I am also going to include mom's sauce too with it. It takes a little time but it's not that hard to make. :) ~~Enjoy~~

Blue Ribbon Recipe

This baked ziti recipe is super hearty and filling. A great dinner if you're serving a crowd. The homemade sauce does not have the typical seasoning you expect in an Italian dish so it's slightly sweeter than what you'd expect in sauce. When combined with the savory cheese, the sweet sauce is a perfect combination. Diced hard-boiled eggs and peas aren't a traditional ingredient, but we liked them in this ziti. Compared to the pasta, there isn't a lot of meat in this recipe. The pasta is the real star of this dish.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
serves 8-10
prep time 40 Min
cook time 1 Hr 20 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For mamma maria's baked ziti, pasta al forno

  • 2 lb
    ziti, cooked
  • 3
    eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 lb
    ground beef
  • 1 can
    peas, 15 oz.
  • 1 pkg
    shredded mozzarella, 16 oz.
  • 1 c
    Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c
    ricotta cheese
  • INGREDIENTS FOR MOM'S SAUCE
  • 1 can
    tomato puree, 28 oz.
  • 4 Tbsp
    sugar
  • 2-3 sprig
    basil, fresh
  • 1 sm
    onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 can
    water (empty puree can)
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How To Make mamma maria's baked ziti, pasta al forno

  • 1
    Start by making the sauce. In a big pot, heat oil. Add onions and cook until lightly browned.
  • 2
    Add tomato puree.
  • 3
    Use an empty sauce can and fill with water add to the sauce.
  • 4
    Cook sauce in medium heat for 10 minutes or so then add sugar, basil and stir, continue to cook the sauce for another 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • 5
    Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Brown ground beef and drain fat.
  • 6
    Chop boiled eggs.
  • 7
    Cook pasta as directed; make it a little al dente. Drain pasta and put it back in the pot.
  • 8
    Add ground beef and peas to the sauce.
  • 9
    Pour enough sauce to lightly coat the pasta. Make sure you divide the sauce so you can have enough for the baking preparation.
  • 10
    In a 13x9 pan, pour a scoop of sauce and spread it all around the pan.
  • 11
    Add half of the pasta. Layer the eggs on top of every section of the pasta.
  • 12
    Then with a teaspoon, layer the ricotta on every section of the pasta until the whole cup is gone.
  • 13
    Add half the sauce on top.
  • 14
    Then sprinkle half of the grated Parmesan cheese and a half bag of mozzarella.
  • 15
    Pour the remaining pasta on top and add the sauce.
  • 16
    Top grated cheese and mozzarella. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to allow to slightly brown. Mom used to let it sit for about 10 minutes so when you would cut portions they wouldn't fall apart.
  • 17
    You can choose whatever item you like in the ziti... but we love it just like that... it's filling and it's good.

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