My best friend makes an amazing baked ziti. When I visited her over this past July 4th weekend, she made it for me and sent me home with leftovers. Unfortunately, I totally forgot it was in my bag and forgot to put it in the fridge until way too late. But it was so good that I briefly contemplated risking food poisoning! Since I usually only see her once a year, I wanted to be able to make it for myself sometimes. Her recipe is a family secret, so I found this recipe online and made a few changes. It tastes like lasagna without all the work! It can’t beat Samantha’s, but it turned out really well! Here’s my version:
*Makes lots of leftovers and freezes well
1 box ziti (I couldn’t for the life of me find any ziti so I used whole wheat penne which is basically the same thing, just smaller)
1 pound ground turkey
3 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
Approximately 5 large spoonfuls ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
1 pound bag shredded mozzarella cheese
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring salted water to boil. Cook pasta for approximately 5 minutes, or until it’s al dente (it will cook more in the oven so you want it to be firm)
2) While the pasta is cooking, cook the ground turkey. I cooked mine with olive oil, ground black pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and a little bit of onion powder
3) Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add meat, sauce (save some for topping), ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, and mix well.
4) Pour mixture into a large oven safe dish, and top with more sauce and mozzarella cheese
5) Bake pasta for 30-40 minutes, until cheese melts and begins to bubble.