Baked Ziti for 2

This baked ziti is made with 4 cheeses and 10 delicious layers, alternating between a savory tomato sauce, a rich and herby ricotta filling, ziti noodles, and melted cheese!  What could go wrong?!?
Introduction

About this Recipe

By: Kelli South

Every time I think of baked ziti, I think of The Sopranos.  And coming from an Italian family, having a good baked ziti recipe is a MUST!  One of the reasons I think this recipe stands out from many other ziti recipes is an herby, well-seasoned ricotta filling.  The ricotta needs it!  I mean, it doesn’t really taste like much and adding it without flavor will make any dish bland.  The ricotta filling in this recipe I also use for my lasagna or any other dish that calls for it.

Ingredients
  • 2 Mini Pie Dishes
  • 6 oz Ziti, uncooked
  • 10 oz Tomato Sauce ( Your favorite pasta sauce)
  • 2 thick slices of Provolone
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Ricotta Filling

  • 2 1/2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, about 6 chopped leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
Step one in this recipe is a very important step.  Having over-cooked pasta noodles will give you baked ziti a mushy texture and will not hold up to all the cheese and sauce.  Start boiling your pasta water, add a pinch of salt.  When the water is boiling, add you ziti and stir occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick.  Keep and eye on it after the 5 minute mark and test a noodle after every 30 seconds to ensure you do not over-cook the pasta.  It should be on the more than al dente side (harder), and be clearly not fully cooked.  The sauce, cheese and heat will finish cooking the pasta in the oven.  Once you drain your pasta, shake all the water out and spread it all out flat on a sheet tray to cool and dry.  Layer the pasta in a single layer so they don’t stick together.
Layering the ziti is the best part of this recipe!  10 layers sounds like a lot but it is sooooo worth it =)  I love using mini pie dishes for this recipe, that way everyone can get their own and there is no need to share!  They are the perfect size for 1 with the possibilities of a little leftovers.  In the pictures below are step by step directions for layering your baked ziti:
Bake your ziti in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Make sure you let your it cool for 5 minutes before digging in!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Fill a small sauce pan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Add ziti to the water and stir.  Bring the water back up to a light boil, stirring frequently to keep the pasta from sticking.  “Under” cook pasta to less than al dente, about 6 minutes.  Drain pasta and lay noodles out flat on a sheet tray in a single layer and let cool.

Step 2

In a small bowl combine all the everything for the ricotta filing and set aside.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  (There are step by step pictures above in my blog that show how to layer the ziti.)  In the two mini pie pans, spoon in enough sauce to cover the bottom in a light layer.  It is easiest to do both zitis at the same time.  Second, add a single layer of ziti noodles.  Third, spread a layer of your ricotta filling over the ziti, covering every noodle.  Next, add another layer of sauce and then on top of the sauce, add a second layer of ziti.  On top of the ziti, add a slice of provolone cheese.  After, spread another layer of ricotta filling over the provolone.  Then, add a final layer of sauce over the ricotta.  Finish everything off by sprinkling the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over both mini zitis.

Step 4

ake both mini zitis in the oven until the top is a crispy, golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes and garnish with a basil leaf.

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