Recipe by Colleen B. Smith
"A lady I worked with brought this in one day, and it was a hit. Now it is the favorite of all my dinner guests. It's great for a covered dish dinner too. I have made this also without the meat, and it is well received."
Watch video tips and tricks
dry ziti pasta
lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars
provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups
mozzarella cheese, shredded
grated Parmesan cheese
Hey yo, what's up fellow cookers?? Check it...I hate when people give extraordinary recipies ratings that they don't deserve. I sort my recipies by "most helpful." Every person that I know who knows anything about cooking KNOWS to cover up whatever it is that they are baking so it won't dry up. Now that I got that off my chest, I just want to say that this is definitely "HALL OF FAME" material. I didn't make any changes to the recipe with the exception of how I layered it. I read some of the other reviews and decided to put the sauce mixture directly on top of the ziti, then add the cheese, sour cream and so forth. I even stirred the bottom layer of ziti and sauce together before I added anything else just to make sure that the sauce ran all through the noodles. Grease the pan real well before you put anything in it....or just use a non-stick cooking spray. If you like your meals cheesier, meatier or saucier, than you can add a little more, but that's strictly on your preference. Oh yeah.......keep in mind that this meal does make a huge dish so you might want to have a smaller baking dish on the side for any extra that doesn't fit in the first one. Better safe than sorry.....and trust...YOU WON'T BE SORRY FOR MAKING THIS AT ALL!!!!
Try RICOTTA CHEESE instead of sour cream and skip the provolone for a real Italian version of Baked Ziti. Mix an egg into a pound of ricotta to make it nice and creamy, and toss with the ziti. Layer sauce first (so you don't need to butter the pan), then ziti/cheese, mozzarella, sprinkle with parm and a little dried oregano or basil, then repeat layers. For a really nice look, slice a brick of mozzarella for the top layer instead of using the shredded kind. This is SO MUCH BETTER than the sour cream version!
I'm rating this only a 3 star because the recipe doesn't tell you to bake it COVERED! I baked uncovered and it dried out. Not good, and certainly not "Hall of Fame" worthy. I'll try it again, but definitely covered when baking.
Just made this dish for dinner tonight and it was delicious. Instead of greasing the pan (I used a Pyrex dish) with butter, I sprayed a light coating of Pam; the pan was a breeze to clean afterward. Per some of the suggestions other reviewers made, I added minced garlic and had put the sauce directly on the ziti, before the provolone. Because I like the pasta to soak up the flavor of the sauce, I did the same for the top layer ziti, (adding the sauce to the ziti before the mozerella cheese). Since I wasn't sure if doing so would make the pasta too soft, I shaved a minute off of the suggested pasta boiling time. It came out perfect, this recipe is a keeper.
I love this recipe! It gets five stars because, made as directed, it's absolutely delicious; creamy, savory and just perfect. If I could give this recipe more stars, I would, because it's also extremely flexible. I've made this with Italian sausage or ground turkey instead of the beef. I've also made a vegetarian version by substituting sliced zucchini and mushrooms for the meat. Sometimes I add chopped garlic and fennel seed. (There's something about fennel seed that, to me, is integral to Italian cooking. It's like cilantro to Mexican food.) Obviously, the key to the greatness of this recipe is the substitution of a layer of sour cream and provolone for the usual ricotta. That's what makes the dish so moist and creamy. Who hasn't make a beautiful lasagna only to have it dry out in the oven? I like ricotta as much as the next Italian-American, but the stuff is pretty dry and really adds no flavor. It's essentially just a binder. Here, the combination of the provolone melting into the sour cream is truly inspired; the sour cream adds moisture and the provolone adds flavor. I'm planning to use the same combo instead of ricotta in my next lasagna. The importance of using a high-quality sauce for this recipe almost goes without saying, so I'll stop here. Thanks, Colleen!
Rewrite of review -
This was one of the first recipes I found on Allrecipes back in 2002. Just made it again last night for friends (including 2 kids..who including the adults..went for seconds) and family. This dish makes plenty of leftovers - pack them in tupperware and freeze for another night. Always a fantastic turnout with this dish!!
Did make a few altercations though...as always:
Didnt realize i picked up Penne pasta instead of Ziti at the store. I omitted the onions. Used hot italian turkey sausage (squeezed the meat out of the casings and cooked it like you'd cook ground beef). Seasoned the meat with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Mrs Dash. Added 2 TBS of minced garlic to browning meat. Added 1 (drained) can of mushroom pieces with stems. Added 2 jars of pasta sauce and let simmer for 15 mins. Halved the amount of (reduced fat/light) sour cream and replaced it with (reduced fat/light) ricotta. And used the rest of the ingredients off the recipe. Layered PAM sprayed Pyrex baking dishes like so...Ziti, sauce, Provolone, Sour Cream, Ricotta, ziti, rest of sauce and Sargento's Italian 6 Shredded Cheese Blend - Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago and Parmesan. Covered with foil and baked for 30 mins. :) Yummmmy
Unless you have a big family or are having company...i suggest if you are feeding up to 4 people to half the recipe.
Thanks Colleen for a great recipe!
This is great! I use 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound Italian sausage and add onion, green pepper and garlic while browning. I add 1 TBSP of Italian seasoning, sliced mushrooms and sliced black olives to the sauce. I mix the pasta and meat sauce together, place half the mixture in the pan, then the sour cream and 1/2 of the cheese, then the remaining ziti mixture and top with the remaining cheese. I like the pasta completely coated with sauce. I use shredded Italian blend cheese and PILE it on, at least double what the recipe calls for, and increase the Parmesan as well. Definitely use 2 jars of sauce, it sounds like a lot but other wise the Ziti will be dry. This is perfect for a family gathering, it makes a lot.
Delicious and great make-ahead recipe for entertaining. Read a ton of the reviews and recommend following changes suggested by others: use larger dish (31/2-4 qt.), saute several cloves of minced garlic w/meat and onion, add layer of sauce over ziti before provolone/sour cream layer, cover while baking so it doesn't dry out, if making ahead and refrigerating, be sure to double the cooking time. I used Bertolli Five Cheese spaghetti sauce with a little sugar and crushed red pepper -- excellent! If
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Baked Ziti I
Serving Size: 1/10 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 227
Everything you need to party like a leprechaun.
New for spring! Good-for-you food you’ll love to eat.
Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $9.99!
See how to make Colleen's five-star baked ziti.
It's the simple solution to the weeknight dinner challenge.
A hearty baked spaghetti casserole with three kinds of cheese.