Baked ziti is all about the cheese! This is a super cheesy pasta thats balanced out with the acidity of a tomato sauce. Make sure you bake till you get that proper crunchy topping!
A good baked ziti is all about the cheese! Don’t fret though, the sharp tomato sauce balances this out perfectly.
I’ve added some additional flavours to the ricotta to bring some brightness.
A baked ziti is all about the crunch. You want a nice crunchy top to contrast with the soft cheesy pasta.
If you can’t get a block of hard mozzarella. Buy shredded in a bag and rinse of the starch and pat dry with kitchen towels (refer to my story).
You want to undercook your pasta. As this is baking in the oven it will finish cooking there. You can watch me make these on my instagram highlights.
If you need any further help, or have any questions, you can message me on my Instagram @bonniedoesfood.
3 tins of whole tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
A couple of stems of basil
7g parmesan, grated
Lemon herb ricotta:
A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
15g parmesan, finely grated
1 tsp salt
Fresh black pepper
225g soft mozzarella, torn into chunks
225g hard mozzarella, either shredded or cut into chunks
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and basil. Turn the heat on low and gently infuse.
When the garlic starts to sizzle, cook for about a minute then add the whole tomatoes. You can crush these directly in the pan or before if you like.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Leave to bubble gently for about 25-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180c fan / 200c standard
FOR THE LEMON HERB RICOTTA:
In a medium mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix until creamy and combined.
Set aside whilst we prepare the cheese and pasta.
FOR THE PASTA:
In a large pot of heavily salted boiling pasta. Cook the pasta for about 6 or so minutes. You’re aiming to undercook the pasta as it will finish cooking in the oven.
FOR THE CHEESE LAYER:
In a medium bowl, combine the hard and soft mozzarella.
Set aside whilst we prep the pasta.
FOR THE SAUCE:
Take a ladle of the pasta water and add to the tomato sauce. We want the sauce on the runny side as it will be absorbed by the pasta in the oven.
FOR THE PASTA:
Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside for assembly.
Grab a large ovenproof dish and all of your elements.
Transfer the drained pasta to a bowl and add ¾ of the tomato sauce and the ricotta. Stir until combined.
Spoon the remaining tomato sauce into the bottom of your large ovenproof dish.
Add half the pasta to the dish, then sprinkle half the cheese mix over the pasta.
Add the other half of the pasta and top with the other half of the cheese mix. At this point you can add additional parmesan or mozzarella if you wish.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. It should be dark gold and crispy when complete. If it needs a bit more crunch you can whack this under a hot grill until done to your liking.
Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will mean the pasta holds together better on your plate. Although you can skip this step if you can’t wait.