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Baked Ziti with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

platedziti

One of my favorite things to do as the weather starts to chill out if make Baked Ziti with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs.  This recipe began as an old family recipe that I’ve modified over the years to suit my own taste.  I’ve made this so many times, in fact, that I no longer measure the ingredients.  So when I was putting the recipe to paper, I of course had to actually make it…for research of course.

You’ll want to plan ahead when making this recipe because the sauce and meatballs cook all day.   You’ll want to start first thing in the morning so your meatballs and sauce have the most flavor.  Since there are so many steps, I chose to break it up to make it easier to follow.  For those of you who just want the recipe and not all the pictures, click here for a PDF that you can print.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe and I really hope that you enjoy it.  If you make it, share your photos and take me on Twitter (@roseofthecity) or Instagram (@roseofthecity).  I’d love to see your pictures!

For the Meatballs

  • 1 Small Onion Minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs. Ground Chuck
  • 1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

ingredients

Start by heating the olive oil in a small sauté pan.  Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent and set aside.

Next place the ground chuck in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients together including the onions and garlic and mix together.  Be careful to not over mix.

meatblended

Add a little oil to your hands and begin shaping the meatballs.  Don’t be too finicky about this, just make sure they somewhat resemble a cylindrical shape and place them on some parchment.  Mine are usually oblong but they still taste good!  😉

ballsprepared

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan OR for additional flavor use bacon drippings.  When I made this recipe to shoot these photos, I had made bacon that morning and decided to use the drippings to sear my meatballs.  Let me tell you, they turned out ah-mazing!  The bacon drippings added so much additional flavor.  Anyway, back to the recipe…

You want to just sear the meatballs in the oil to get a nice brown on the outside.  This gives them so much flavor.  Once they’re seared, set them aside and prepare the sauce.

cookingballs

For the Sauce

  • 134 oz. (4 boxes) of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot)
  • Pinch of Sugar (as needed)

sauce

Add all of the ingredients to a heavy bottomed stock pot set on low.  This is the easiest part of the recipe…one step! 👍🏼

Add the meatballs to the sauce and cover.  Allow the sauce to just simmer away for 5-6 hours.

Taste your sauce about an hour before it’s done and if it tastes too acidic, add a pinch of sugar.  I almost always add a bit of sugar to bring out the sweetness of the tomato sauce but it’s totally a preference thing.

For the Cheese Filling

cheeseblend

  • 2 lbs. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside.  Keep this in the refrigerator if you make in advance.

*Cut this in half if you don’t want your ziti to be super cheesy.

Assemble the Baked Ziti

prep

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare 2 lbs. of ziti pasta.  I like mine al dente but you can prepare it to whatever texture you prefer.  Add a scoop of sauce to the pasta and coat evenly.  This keeps it from sticking and adds a bit of flavor before it goes into the pan.

Next add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of your casserole pan.  I’ve used an aluminum one because I like the easy cleanup but am realizing that a ceramic or glass one would have been much prettier in pictures.  Next time guys, I’m still learning about blogging here.

firstlayer

Add about half of the cooked pasta, then layer on the cheese mixture.

firsthalf

Drizzle an even amount of sauce over top; don’t drown it, just add a bit of moisture.

Add the rest of the pasta and top with shredded mozzarella cheese to your liking.  Here I added about 2 cups because we like it CHEESY!

fullyprepared

Top with a light dusting of salt, pepper and oregano and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the cheese melts and begins to brown.

zitidone

Serve with meatballs and sauce then top with fresh parmesan cheese.  Add a glass of Cabernet and done!

 

Baked Ziti with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Baked Ziti with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Ingredients

    For the Meatballs:
  • 1 Small Onion Minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs. Ground Chuck
  • 1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • For the Sauce:
  • 134 oz. (4 boxes) of Hunt's Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot)
  • Pinch of Sugar (as needed)
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 lbs. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (plus 1-2 cups for top)
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 2 lbs. cooked ziti pasta

Instructions

    For the Meatballs:
  1. Start by heating the olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent and set aside.
  2. Place the ground chuck in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients together including the onions and garlic and mix together. Be careful to not over mix.
  3. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan OR for additional flavor use bacon drippings.
  4. Sear the meatballs in the oil to get a nice brown on the outside. Once they're seared,
  5. set them aside and prepare the sauce.
  6. For the Sauce:
  7. Add all of the ingredients to a heavy bottomed stock pot set on low. This is the easiest part of the recipe...one step!
  8. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cover. Allow the sauce to just simmer away for 5-6 hours.
  9. Taste your sauce about an hour before it’s done and if it tastes too acidic, add a pinch of sugar.
  10. For the Filling:
  11. Prepare 2 lbs. of ziti pasta. I like mine al dente but you can prepare it to whatever texture you prefer.
  12. Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, salt, pepper and parsley together and set aside. Keep this in the refrigerator if you make in advance. *Cut this in half if you don't want your ziti to be super cheesy.
  13. Assembly:
  14. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  15. Add a scoop of sauce to the pasta and coat evenly. This keeps it from sticking and adds
  16. a bit of flavor before it goes into the pan.
  17. Next add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of your casserole pan.
  18. Add about half of the cooked pasta, then layer on the cheese mixture.
  19. Drizzle an even amount of sauce over top; don’t drown it, just add a bit of moisture.
  20. Add the rest of the pasta and top with shredded mozzarella cheese to your liking. Here I
  21. added about 2 cups because we like it CHEESY!
  22. Serve with meatballs and sauce then top with fresh parmesan cheese. Add a glass of Cabernet and done!
  23. Top with a light dusting of salt, pepper and oregano and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the cheese melts and begins to brown.
  24. Serve with meatballs and sauce and top with a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese. Sauce and Baked Ziti will keep in an airtight container for up to a week. Freeze remaining sauce.
http://roseofthecity.com/baked-ziti-with-homemade-tomato-sauce-and-meatballs/



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