Baked ziti is hearty, satisfying, and easy to prepare. To streamline the recipe, we skipped the traditional step of browning the meat before it's combined with the rest of the ingredients; it cooks fully as the casserole bakes. This recipe easily doubles to feed a crowd; bake in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish for 35 minutes.
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Asiago cheese, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
6 ounces ground turkey breast
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
Combine pasta, Basic Marinara, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Asiago, salt, pepper sauce, and turkey in a large bowl. Spoon into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Asiago. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Wine note: A simple baked ziti such as this is best with a good solid red wine, preferably made from the Italian grape sangiovese (the main grape in Chianti). Sangiovese possesses a hint of acidity, which helps it pair beautifully with tomato sauces. For a fuller-bodied sangiovese, try one from California such as Eberle Sangiovese 2005 from Paso Robles ($22). --Karen MacNeil
Have made this a few times now. Always a hit with the family. I double it for leftovers. Tonight I didn't have enough ground turkey so I added some spicy chicken sausage and it really added a lot. I also tend to sub quality parm/reggiano for the asiago (just personal preference) and use jar marinara to save on time. Super fast and delicious. Yes...you must precook the ground turkey. Too bad the recipe isn't clearer on that. But definitely a family-friendly keeper recipe here.
My husband and I loved this! So easy and delicious! Plus, we love the smaller size (8x8 pan) for just two people. Just enough for dinner tonight and lunch leftovers. This is such a lower calorie option than any traditional baked ziti recipe with ground beef, sausage, ricotta, etc...and we thought it tasted WAY better! We also like the flexibility of being able to make with any jar sauce that you have on hand OR your own, homemade sauce.
I always double the recipe and either do a 9x13 for a big group or two 8x8 and freeze/give away one. I use pork italian sausage (browned first) and add chopped red bell pepper and frozen spinach (1 pepper & 1 package spinach when doubling) If you put it all together a day or two early, let it sit in the fridge and then bake right before serving it is really awesome!
I'm giving this five stars because I THOUGHT this was the best baked ziti i've ever tasted.... mine or a restaurant's !!! i'm not a fan of the ricotta in most. used 1 cup of mozz in the pasta mix and my own marinara, along with 3 ozs asiago and a handful of parmesan. didn't add meat. was short on time so just warmed in micro and threw some more mozz on top. yes, i went over the cheese limit, but i will make this the same next time! don't skip the asiago. did 4-5 shakes of hot sauce and it just added something..... used barilla mini penne.
We use this kind of CL recipe for portion control . . . otherwise we go crazy with the cheeses. Super-simple and easy to make changes that don't pop up the calories. Added some past-their-prime mushrooms, a handful of chopped parsley & used turkey Italian sausage, otherwise followed directions. Served with salad and CL's Italian-style escarole. Very good.
Super simple recipe. I used cavatappi instead of ziti to make things more interesting. Also used spicy italian sausage (browned before adding to the mixture) instead of ground turkey for more flavor. Sprinkled some parmesan on my serving before eating too which gave it a nice little salty bite.
I made the basic marinara to go with it (with a few modifications) and it turned out wonderfully. However, I have a thing with throwing raw meats into most casseroles so I browned the ground turkey with a little olive oil and pepper before adding it into the dish. Otherwise, fabulous. Makes a great dish to make and snack on throughout the week when making lunch is too much of a hassle.