Doctoring good-quality jarred tomato sauce, like Rao's, with ground meat, onion, garlic and spices makes this ziti superfast.
1 pound ziti or penne
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 (3 cups) jar marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) fresh ricotta
1/2 pound packaged mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450° and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti to the pot and boil until just al dente. Drain and return the ziti to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ground sirloin, crushed red pepper and paprika and season with salt. Cook over high heat, stirring to break up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes.
Add the sauce to the ziti in the pot and stir to coat it thoroughly. Add the ricotta in large dollops and stir gently, leaving it in large clumps. Pour half of the ziti into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with half of the mozzarella and Parmigiano. Repeat with the remaining ziti and cheeses.
Bake the ziti on the top rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, until it is bubbling and browned. Let the ziti rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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I usually make lasagna ahead of time but my grand daughter was visiting and she likes baked ziti so I tried this recepie because it was easy and quick. It turned out very tastey & good.I did use more sauce then called for because it looked a little dry and I used ground turkey instead of ground sirloin and low fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta and a few extra spices including fresh basil. I will make this again when I need a quick pasta dish.I rated this 4 stars because it did require a few extras like additional sauce and if you're not an experience cooker and making this for the first time you would not know this. Overall my grand daughter liked it very well, so,did my daughter in law and husband.