The Kittencal’s Freezer Baked Ziti Recipe came in the scrapbook that Sophia & Hsiao made for me. After learning this easy baked ziti recipe, I’ve made it at least a couple times every month. I don’t have many recipes in my arsenal, so when I find an easy recipe that are crowd pleasers, I end up repeating them a lot. Even my italian friends think it’s so yummy that they asked for the recipe!
Out of one pasta box, it cooks so much food. The idea is you eat one with your family, and then freeze one for later. Perfect for a rainy day. If you were to cook it all at once, it serves up to 12 people.
Everyone who’s had it loved it so far and has asked for the recipe, so I decided to share it here too! You can see the original recipe here, but I made some modifications because I found parts of it to be confusing. I did what worked for me.
I probably should learn to style my food shots. One thing at a time. First, I’m gonna learn how to cook simple meals.
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe:
- 1 (16 oz) box uncooked ziti pasta (or use penne pasta)
- 2 lbs ground beef or italian sausages with casings removed (or 1 lb each of both)
- 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes (to taste) (optional)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons seasoning salt
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- 8-10 cups favorite prepared pasta sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (you will need more to sprinkle on top after baking)
- 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided (or to taste)
- In a large pot cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (do not overcook)
- Drain but do not rinse.
- Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together and set aside
- In a pot, cook the ground beef / sausage with chili flakes and onion until beef is lightly browned (drain fat if necessary).
- Add in the garlic and bell pepper; cook stirring about 10 minutes.
- Season with seasoning salt and ground black pepper.
- Stir in the pasta sauce.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring for about 25-30 minutes.
- Mix in 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the cooked ziti pasta.
- Divide the mixture between two greased 12 1/2 x 8-inch pans.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top of each pan.
- If freezing, cool completely then cover with heavy foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
- If baking right away, set oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake uncovered for about 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Sprinkle about 3/4 cup or to taste of Parmesan cheese over each top of pan
- Return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.