Looking for your best Thanksgiving baked ziti recipe. Yes, there are many people, I understand, for whom baked ziti are an essential component of every Thanksgiving menu. I knew 2 such people, years ago; one was from Staten Island, one from Brooklyn. Their baked ziti were amazing. I was actually present in the same church kitchen where and when they made it, but I was busy preparing or supervising the creation of all of the other items on the menu, so I failed to make any notes about how they made it. I told the story to my sons and the one who'll be here for T-Day exclaimed that he loves baked ziti. So baked ziti are on the menu! Thanks, all. ;o)



healthierkitchen November 8, 2010
I'm guessing that you remember a dish with ricotta cheese mixed in and mozzarella on top, but in case that is not exactly what you are looking for, I made this with ziti noodles recently for a Halloween party and it was terrific. The fish sauce in with the meat makes a huge difference:

Mr_Vittles November 8, 2010
Parboil 16 oz. of ziti, 8 minutes in salted, boiling water, reserve a cup of the cooking water, then quickly rinse with cool water and hold. Take one pound of Italian sweet sausage, out of its casing please, and add to a few glugs of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the sausage is brown, remove and add 1 cup onions and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and saute briefly for 30 seconds. Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and saute for 5 minutes until paste is a deep brown. Optionally, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup red wine here, over medium heat add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, reduce wine until it looks syrupy. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes with juices and add browned sausage back to pan. Mix and allow to come to a simmer. Add a pinch of dried thyme, dried oregano, and dried basil, a bay leaf, and a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, along with a shake or two of Worcestershire sauce, simmer, covered for 30 minutes. The sauce should be fairly wet, after the simmering time is up, if it looks dry add some pasta water to it until it looks wet. The sauce should also be salted and peppered to taste after simmering time is finished. In a baking dish, add noodles and sauce, combine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 deg F for about 20 minutes and remove from oven cover with shredded mozzarella, maybe a 1/3 to 1/2 cup, and grated parmigiano reggiano, about 3 Tbsp. Slide into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and serve.
mrslarkin November 8, 2010
Here's my simple version, which can easily be jazzed up with additional cheeses and meats: http://www.food52.com/recipes/2764_quick_pasta_al_forno
betteirene November 8, 2010
I like these two, both from Cook's Illustrated. The skillet version is for weeknights, the other for a lazy weekend.


If you're a member, you can go straight to the source to learn exactly why the longer recipe works:
nutcakes November 8, 2010
My favorite recipe comes from the reliable Fine Cooking magazine. I make it quite often and people really rave over it. It has a fresher flavor than most and doesn't seem quite so heavy, but completely delicious and satisfying. Go out of your way to get good ricotta if you can. Oh, and it makes much more than 4 servings.
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