Four Cheese Baked Ziti
If Food & Wine says it’s okay to use jarred tomato sauce then who am I to argue? It’s nice of them to acknowledge its value in the kitchen. As much as I like to make homemade sauce there’s not always enough time left in the day to make it from scratch and more often than not I reach of a jar of sauce rather than making my own.
Which brings me to the four cheese baked ziti I made recently. I was inspired after reading this post from Adam Roberts (aka The Amateur Gourmet), which led me to a recipe on the Food & Wine website. I agree with Adam – everyone needs a good baked ziti recipe. And so with the Food & Wine recipe as a blueprint, I set out to create my own. It’s a four-serving extra cheesy version that is so easy to put together you’ll want to add it to your weeknight dinner rotation.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- Because I don’t cook for a crowd, I scaled this four cheese baked ziti recipe to serve four people so it starts with 8 ounces of ziti. It’s a good idea to parboil it first so that its about half cooked before it’s combined with the other ingredients. It finishes cooking in the oven.
- While the pasta boils (and it only needs about five minutes or so) prepare the cheese filling. It’s as simple as stirring together some ricotta, shredded provolone, parmesan, and cubed fresh mozzarella. Add some seasoning and chopped parsley and the filling is ready to go.
- Once the pasta is ready build the ziti like a lasagna. Instead of stirring the sauce, cheese, and pasta together, start with some sauce on the bottom of the pan and from there layer the pasta, sauce, and cheese and repeat. This way you get pockets of melted cheese all throughout the ziti, which (in my opinion) is the best part.
- And for the sauce: You can use your favorite jarred sauce, but I always use Rao’s Homemade Marinara sauce (Adam uses it, too, and Ina Garten(!)). It’s by far the best store-bought sauce and has just a few simple ingredients. You really can taste the difference.
- Top the ziti with more shredded cheese, cover it with foil and pop it in the oven. In about 20 minutes it will emerge bubbling hot with those melted pockets of cheese throughout.
More Pasta Recipes
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
- Skillet Chicken Lasagna
- 30-Minute One Pan Beef Penne
- Broccoli Rabe Chicken Pasta
- Easy Baked Pasta with Sausage
Baked ziti is always a go-to favorite. I like to layer this ziti like you would a lasagna so you get pockets of melted cheese throughout. This version has a combination of ricotta, provolone, Parmesan, and fresh mozzarella cheese making it extra cheesy and creamy. Plus, it’s easy to make thanks to store-bought sauce and is ready to go in the oven in about 10 minutes.
- 8 ounces ziti
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2/3 cup grated provolone cheese, plus 1/4 cup shredded (for topping)
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed, plus 1/4 cup shredded (for topping)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for serving
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 (24-oz) jarred tomato sauce (see note)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil the pasta for about half the time it says on the box (about 5 to 6 minutes) – it will finish cooking when it goes in the oven with the sauce and cheese. While the pasta is cooking combine the ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, pepper, parsley, and basil in a medium bowl.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour some sauce in a 8 x 8 baking dish, just enough to coat the bottom. Add about a third of the cooked pasta, and top it with some sauce. Using a tablespoon, drop scoops of the cheese mixture over the top of the sauce, about 5-6 scoops.
- Top the cheese with another layer of pasta followed by some sauce. Scoop the remaining cheese over the top of the sauce and add the rest of the pasta. Add the rest of the sauce over the top. It may seem like there is way too much cheese, so be generous with your scoops. Once the ziti is baked those scoops of cheese will turn into the most decadent pockets of ooey-gooey cheese.
- Top the ziti with the rest of the shredded provolone and mozzarella cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil and transfer it to the oven. Bake the ziti for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and the ziti is bubbling around the edges. Let the ziti rest for a few minutes before serving with extra grated parmesan cheese on the side.
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Italian
- Calories: 677
- Fat: 28.3g
- Carbohydrates: 60.2g
- Fiber: 5.6g
- Protein: 44.3g
Keywords: four cheese baked ziti, easy baked ziti, vegetarian baked ziti recipe