Baked Ziti with Ground Beef
This is a delicious, inexpensive meal to cook to feed a crowd or make enough lunches for the workweek. It's hearty, simple, and perfect for these cold winter nights.
- 1 Pound ziti
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for pasta
- 1 Pound 90 percent lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
- 1 Teaspoon dried oregano, to taste
- 1 Teaspoon chile flakes, or more to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- One 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (or homemade marinara sauce)
- 1 Cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 Cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 Cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the ziti until al dente. When cooked, drain the pasta and mix with a little bit of olive oil so it doesn't stick. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add the ground beef. Break up with a wooden spoon but don't stir too often or the meat won't brown nicely. Once mostly browned, add onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and seasonings and stir to combine. Add marinara sauce to beef mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes.
Spread a thin layer of tomato-beef mixture on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Dot with half the ricotta cheese. Add rest of tomato-beef sauce to pasta and stir well to combine. Pour pasta into casseole dish and spread out evenly. Top with remaining ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden-brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, let sit for about 5 minutes, and enjoy!