This simple baked ziti recipe is the best I have ever come across! Truly. I’ve tried different recipes over the years but once I started making the baked ziti like this, I’ve never gone back! NEVER! And you can’t make me!
What makes this recipe different from other baked ziti recipes? I use sour cream instead of ricotta! Sour Cream For The Win! Or ftw as we say in World of Warcraft!
What do I have against ricotta? Absolutely nothing. Here’s how the switch came about.
Years ago, I was making a baked ziti and got to the part where I layer everything into the casserole dish. I looked in the fridge for the ricotta. It wasn’t there. I frantically searched, flinging food everywhere until I reached some… sour cream. Sour cream? A light went on inside. “This could work!” I said to myself.
I felt like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, holding that sour cream container above my head. I could picture lightening coming off all of the metal gadgets in the kitchen into this container! It was destiny.
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How to make simple baked ziti
First up, I fill a sauce pan 1/2 way with water, add some salt and place it on the stove. I turn the heat on high until the water boils.
Once it comes to a boil, I put the pasta in the water and stir it around. I only use 2/3 of the box of pasta because I’m only cooking for 2. I set the timer for 10 minutes. I want the ziti to be al dente (come si dice in italiano!).
I preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
I gather the (red) gravy, sour cream and provolone cheese. You can either use homemade gravy as I did or you can use gravy from the store. Your choice. And I won’t judge you. Because I’m not the gravy police. Or am I? Look at how chunky and delicious looking my gravy is! It also has ground beef in it; hence the name of this post. But of course, you can do this recipe without the beef if you want.
I get a medium sized casserole dish and put a ladleful of the gravy on the bottom. Chunky gravy. Just saying.
Ding! Pasta is done and ready to be layered.
I drain the pasta and plop some on the gravy
Lookie, lookie, what I cookie!
Next comes the sour cream.
I plop it on top in spoonfuls.
Next comes more gravy.
As you can see, I don’t spare the gravy.
(Don’t spare the gravy! should be on a bumpersticker.)
Time to put some provolone cheese on top of that. I love the provolone cheese that I use. I found it at Whole Foods Market. It is very thin (as you can see below). Melts easier and I don’t feel guilty eating it.
First layer done! Yippee-ki-yay-ki-yay!
Time to add a few more layers. I usually do only 3 in this casserole dish! But do as many as you like since I won’t be standing over you…….watching.
Here it is all layered.
Time to put the easy baked ziti in the oven. I cover it and slide it right in. I bake it 30 minutes covered and then 20 minutes uncovered.
Yay! All done and ready to be served.
Christopher loves this meal. Actually, Christopher loves almost all food, but he requests this baked ziti recipe often and I’m happy to oblige.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! I’m sure you will as it is a people pleaser!
Other fun pasta recipes
And as always, may all your dishes be delish!
Simple Baked Beef Ziti
- 2/3 pound ziti
- 2 cups gravy
- 8 slices provolone
- 1 cup sour cream
- Fill a sauce pan 1/2 full with water
- Add salt
- Set on stove on high to boil
- Add pasta once boiled
- Set timer for 10 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Ladle some gravy in the bottom of a medium casserole dish
- Drain pasta and put a layer on the gravy
- Dollop some sour cream on the pasta
- Liberally ladle gravy on top of sour cream
- Add provolone on gravy
- Keep layering pasta, sour cream, gravy and provolone cheese until casserole dish is filled
- Place covered casserole dish in oven for 30 minutes
- Uncover the casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes
- Remove from oven
- Place in front of hungry peeps