I have an almost irrational obsession with baked ziti. And I can pinpoint exactly where it comes from. It was, I’d say, wow, about 10 years ago. My wonderful Hubs (who was not my Hubs yet) invited a coworker to go to dinner with us. We went to Pasta Pomodoro in Rockridge (amazing outside seating with equally amazing heaters). I very clearly remember ordering the very rich and creamy baked ziti. When the waiter brought our food and said, “baked ziti?” I watched in dumb-founded amazement as Hector said, “Yes, right here.” Right here?!?? “No, RIGHT HERE!!!” I silently screamed. I don’t even remember the non-baked ziti dish I ended up with that night. How could I? It wasn’t baked ziti. Ever since that fateful evening I have been on a baked ziti quest. Each variation of a recipe that I try gets put in the “never again” pile, the “hmm, give it one more try” pile, or THIS could be the ONE” pile. I made this ahead for our Tahoe trip. My dad loved it, which is a whole other story, but got it added to the THIS could be the ONE pile. 🙂
16 oz dry ziti pasta
1 small / medium onion chopped (depends on preference)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub turkey or chicken)
2 (26 oz) jars pasta sauce (such as Classico Tomato & Basil)
6 oz sliced provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbs grated Parmesan
Add ziti to slightly salted boiling water. You want to cook to al dente because this dish will go in the oven.
Over medium – high heat, in a large skillet, sweat onions until soft, add ground beef. Once browned, add pasta sauce and simmer 15 minutes.
While simmering sauce, preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick spray. Layer 1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Total time: 1 hour