We Tried 4 Famous Baked Ziti Recipes – Here’s the Best

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Baked ziti is, with out query, my all-time favourite pasta dish. You get all the satisfaction of lasagna — baked pasta, tomato sauce, and loads of cheese — however it’s far simpler and quicker to make (and the sooner I can dig in the higher).

While baked ziti has roots in Italy (oven-baked pastas, or “pasta al forno,” have been made in Italy for hundreds of years), it’s a decidedly Italian-American dish. The comforting casserole is a go-to for potlucks, a staple on restaurant menus, and the centerpiece of many Sunday dinners. And whereas most zitis comprise the similar fundamental elements, there are a lot of differing opinions on learn how to make the finest.

In order to seek out my perpetually go-to recipe, I made a decision to place 4 of the hottest ones in a head-to-head battle. In this bake-off I used to be decided to reply a few of the perennial baked ziti questions: Ricotta, or no ricotta? Homemade marinara, or maintain it easy with retailer-purchased? Ground beef, floor pork, or Italian sausage?

After all of this baking and testing and tasting, I want I may inform you I got here away with a transparent winner, however each single recipe was merely very good! This goes to sound dramatic, however I agonized over which one ought to win. I attempted dropping off samples to my buddies in the hope they’d attain a consensus, however each single particular person had a distinct opinion. Ultimately, I thought-about {that a} testomony to how nice every of those recipes are, which is why I declared all of them winners.

To maintain issues constant, I selected recipes that included meat, whether or not it was floor beef, floor pork, or Italian sausage. I additionally wished to decide on recipes that every had one thing distinctive to supply.

Maggiano’s Taylor Street Baked Ziti is one in every of the most searched-for baked ziti recipes on the web, and as a Maggiano’s lover, I fully perceive why. I used to be intrigued by the use of jarred marinara — all of the different recipes known as for do-it-yourself. Would I be capable of style the distinction?

Smitten Kitchen’s recipe requires spinach, which I wasn’t anticipating, however I do love some greens thrown in with tacky pasta. Deb is superb at placing collectively recipes which might be scrumptious with little or no trouble, so her ziti felt like a no-brainer to incorporate.

Binging with Babish made a Sopranos-inspired ziti recipe primarily based off the recipe in The Sopranos Family Cookbook. I used to be interested in whether or not the gradual-simmered tomato sauce, which sounded fairly irresistible, can be value the hours it takes to make.

RecipeTin Eats is a favourite amongst lots of our readers, and Nagi’s recipe stood out for her use of seasonings. Her recipe put your spice cupboard to make use of way over any of the others, and I couldn’t wait to strive it.

For components that overlapped like floor beef, Italian sausage, and cheese, I made certain to make use of the similar model in every recipe. I made all 4 zitis on the similar day, in order that I may style them facet-by-facet. Because the tomato sauce is such a key element on this dish, I additionally tasted every sauce individually.

1. The Speedy One: Maggiano’s Taylor Street Baked Ziti

I used to be a bit skeptical after I noticed that this recipe known as for jarred sauce, however the second I took a chunk I used to be immediately confirmed unsuitable. The addition of Italian sausage and garlic cooked in white wine added a lot taste that I couldn’t even inform the sauce wasn’t do-it-yourself.

The factor that impressed me the most, nonetheless, was how rapidly this dish got here collectively. It took me 25 minutes, max! Instead of effervescent away in the oven, you stick it beneath the broiler for a couple of minutes, which creates an ideal bubbly, tacky crust on prime. If you’re on the lookout for an excellent scrumptious pasta dish that you may throw collectively final-minute, that is the one.

2. The One with the Super Sauce: RecipeTin Eats’ Baked Ziti

Nagi’s ziti is fairly irresistible. Out of all the recipes I attempted, it felt the most paying homage to a lasagna (I attribute this principally to the layer of ricotta). But the better part, by far, is the tomato sauce. Knowing that fennel is one in every of the predominant flavors in Italian sausage, Nagi determined so as to add it to her sauce, which was so good — and so tasty. But that’s not all. She additionally provides dried basil, dried oregano, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, and a contact of sugar to create an extremely flavorful tomato sauce you’ll need to use in all of your pasta dishes.

Nagi’s recipe additionally makes use of tomato purée as an alternative of crushed tomatoes — a wise trick for stopping the dish from drying out!

3. The One That Lets You Do Things Your Way: Binging with Babish’s Soprano’s Inspired Baked Ziti

If you’re something like me, you usually find yourself utilizing recipes extra as a free information than a strict instruction handbook. Everyone has completely different tastes and preferences, so I really like recipes that encourage you to customise. Andrew Rea’s ziti recipe relies off of Carmela’s baked ziti in The Sopranos. If you’ve watched the present, you understand she’s recognized for her cooking. After making this dish, I can confidently say she deserves all the reward!

The room for improvisation (add as a lot cheese as you’d like; toss the pasta with one cup of sauce or two) makes this recipe stand out. And then there’s the sauce. This was the solely recipe that included a gradual-simmered sauce, and the prolonged cook dinner time along with the Parmesan rind and the abundance of basil (each of that are Rea’s additions to the recipe) make for a scrumptious, basic sauce. The recipe makes much more than you want, however that didn’t trouble me in any respect. I do know my future self goes to be very excited to have a few of this sauce in the freezer.

4. The One That Helps You Eat Your Greens: Smitten Kitchen’s Old-School Baked Ziti

Deb’s recipe stood out to me for her use of spinach. I had by no means seen that in baked ziti earlier than! According to the feedback, the spinach was successful amongst many individuals who tried it, and a few even doubled the quantity. While greens in baked ziti isn’t widespread, it tasted nice, and didn’t cease this recipe from feeling like a superbly balanced, basic ziti. I additionally actually love that Deb skips the ricotta inside the ziti and serves every portion with a beneficiant dollop on the facet as an alternative.

This recipe is easy, straight to the level, and scrumptious, which is form of Deb’s M.O. And regardless of the reality that you just make your personal sauce, it nonetheless comes collectively rapidly sufficient to be a go-to weeknight meal.

Do you’ve gotten a favourite baked ziti recipe? Tell us beneath in the feedback!

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