This baked ziti has become a go to meal for my family! It’s great for busy weeks, new moms, and for prepping ahead of time. It is also ideal for a dinner party as you can use the time in the oven to clean everything up. All you need is a big salad and some garlic bread and you’re set!
Comfort food at it’s finest. The noodles are tossed in a warm, rich cream sauce and layered with a meaty marinara and baked till bubbly. It’s not quite traditional but so good!
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of mild italian sausage
1/2 yellow onion, diced
16 oz. of penne pasta
1 1/2 lb of mozzarella, shredded
1 jar of prepared marinara sauce
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 C half and half
1 1/2 C whole milk
3/4 C parmesan, shredded
1/2 C Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil pasta according to package. Drain.
Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage with the diced onion. Drain the excess fat.
Combine the marinara sauce and ground beef/ sausage. Let simmer on low for atlas 15 mins.
Alfredo Sauce: In a separate skillet, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to create a roux.
Turn down the heat to low and stir in the milk, half and half and slowly add the shredded parmesan and Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
add the drained noodles to the skillet and toss till well coated.
Assembly of Ziti: Place half of the noodles in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with fresh chopped parsley.
Spoon half the meat sauce mixture evenly over the noodles.
Top with half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat steps 7-9. Finish with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes till bubbly and browning. If the cheese starts to brown too soon, tent with foil. Don’t forget to spray with cooking spray so the cheese doesn’t stick!
This is a great recipe to make ahead and place in the fridge. I can’t attest to how it will hold up to freezing but if you try it, let me know.
I chose not to overly season the alfredo sauce since the meat sauce was so flavorful. If you are looking for more flavor, add garlic to the melted butter before adding the flour.
What great about this is there are so many ways to customize it…
Add a tbsp of pesto to the alfredo sauce for added flavor.
You may use a Jar of alfredo sauce if short on time but avoid if possible!
How to spice up jarred marinara sauce…
+1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp sugar (or 1/4 C grated carrot)
- 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes