We love Italian food in our family. I have always wanted to make some of the dishes you find at Italian restaurants, however, the recipe for baked ziti always sounded really intimidating. That changed when my sister found this simple recipe for baked ziti. She made it for tonight’s dinner. Best of all, this recipe is a healthy version and it tastes great. If you want to make a great pasta dish, try this one, it’s not scary.
(To make it gluten free, use gluten free pasta. Add cooked chicken, or, buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Take the skin off the chicken and shred before adding into the ziti.)
1 pound uncooked pasta (rigatoni, penne, or gluten free pasta)
¾ pound part skim ricotta cheese (one small container)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups store bought marinara sauce, divided
½ cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (half a bag)
1/4 cup basil
Cooked chicken, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat the bottom and sides of lasagna pan with cooking spray. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain.
While pasta cooks; in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes, 3 Tbsps parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup marinara sauce.
To assemble ziti:
Spoon ½ cup of the sauce on bottom of prepared pan.
Top with half of pasta in an even layer.
Evenly spread pasta with ricotta mixture and cover with half of the remaining sauce.
Top with remaining pasta and spoon remaining sauce over the top.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and remaining Tbsp of parmesan.
Bake until cheese is melted and is browned. About 20 to 30 minutes.
Allow Ziti to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.