Helloooo comfort food season!
The temperatures have dropped, mornings have a chill to them, and I am here for it. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year and particularly the food and weather that is involved makes it my favorite time of year!
Baked ziti put me on the map
What do I mean by this? Well, I would cook a lot for my friends and roommates in college and this baked ziti recipe was one that I made often.
- It’s easy,
- It feeds a lot of people,
- Who doesn’t love cheesy, meaty, baked pasta — ESPECIALLY if you’re a college student and someone is cooking for you?!
Additionally, this was the very first recipe I published on the blog in May of 2011. Lol, I didn’t even have a recipe card for this recipe and I guess you don’t really need a “recipe card,” but generally most food blogs have them.
Baked ziti was the recipe that helped spur the birth of Table for Two
Funny enough this baked ziti is not for two people (it certainly can be though since I love leftovers) and yet it was the recipe that essentially birthed Table for Two.
Because I cooked so much for friends and roommates in college and because this baked ziti recipe was one that I frequently made, I would always get asked for the recipe.
I got tired of writing it down so one day I was like duh, why don’t I just start a blog? I had always had a journal or blog of some sort since middle school but it was more of a diary. I decided to just start a food blog and BOY WAS IT SO MUCH DIFFERENT BACK THEN THAN IT IS NOW.
HOWEVER – food BLOGS are still BLOGS meaning there is a real person with real stories behind it. So if you’re one of those people reading (or not) that is fuming right now because I’m telling a long ass boring story and you “just want the recipe,” please just keep on scrolling and get your free recipe below.
Sorry for that rant above but the amount of comments I get daily about “no one gives a flying poop about your boring life stories, just give me the recipe” seriously make me irate especially since there are real stories behind recipes, such as this one!
Other comforting pasta dishes to consider:
- 16 ounces dry ziti pasta
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 links fresh spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
- 1: 24 ounce jarred arrabbiatta sauce (or any spicy pasta sauce you like; I always use Rao's)
- 12 ounce jarred tomato basil sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
- Additional shakes of crushed red pepper, if desired
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a large, oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, add sausage and ground beef and break up into little pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until beef and sausage are cooked through and onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in the pasta. Then add the tomato sauces and stir together to incorporate and make sure everything is coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- After everything is mixed, pour 1/2 the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Smooth it out then sprinkle cheese on top until it’s all covered.
- Take the other 1/2 of the mixture and pour on top, then sprinkle more cheese to cover the top.
- Cover the casserole dish with foil or lid, if your casserole dish has one, and bake for 30-45 minutes.
- Serve with some sprinklings of parmesan cheese and garlic bread!
Photography by Jesse Reilly