Welcome to our kitchen, where tonight we’re whipping up a comforting and delicious Easy Meaty Cheesy Ziti Casserole! This simple weeknight dinner idea is the perfect solution for when you crave a hearty, homemade meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
Easy Meaty Cheesy Ziti Casserole Recipe
In this recipe, we'll guide you through the step-by-step process of creating the ultimate Meaty Cheesy Ziti Casserole. Imagine layers of perfectly cooked ziti pasta, flavorful meaty goodness, and a generous amount of gooey melted cheese – all baked to golden perfection. It's a one-pan wonder that will have your family coming back for seconds!
Add the pasta to a pot of salted boiling water. Stir and cook for about 10 minute until al dente. Rinse and set aside.
Add the oil to a pan over medium high heat. Place the ground beef and sausage in. Stir and fry until cooked though.
Push the sausage and ground beef to one side of the pan and add in the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes until fragrant.
Now pour in the marinara sauce. Season with the hot pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Stir until well combined. Allow the sauce to simmer, over medium heat, for about 10 minutes.
Spoon some sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Add the pasta over the top followed by the rest of the sauce. Spread the mozzarella evenly over the top.
Place the dish in a 350 degree F or 180 C preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Garnish with the parsley. Serve and enjoy your easy meaty cheese ziti pasta!
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 579kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 19g30%
- Saturated Fat 9.1g46%
- Cholesterol 82mg28%
- Sodium 1349mg57%
- Total Carbohydrate 71g24%
- Dietary Fiber 6.8g28%
- Sugars 12g
- Protein 28g57%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Nutritional values are a within reason estimate and my vary depending on several factors.
Customize Your Meaty Mix: Feel free to use a combination of ground beef, pork, or Italian sausage for the meaty layer. You can also add minced garlic, onions, or your favorite seasonings to enhance the flavor.
Cheese Choices: Experiment with different cheese blends to find your perfect combination. Mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta work exceptionally well together. Don't hesitate to add a sprinkle of cheddar or provolone for an extra layer of richness.
Ziti Alternatives: If you can't find ziti pasta, penne or rigatoni make excellent substitutes. The key is to choose a pasta shape with nooks and crannies to capture the sauce and cheese.
Make-Ahead Option: Prepare the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. This makes it a fantastic make-ahead meal for busy evenings. Just remember to let it come to room temperature for a bit before placing it in the oven.
Vegetarian Twist: For a meatless version, omit the meat layer and bulk up with additional veggies like spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers. Consider adding a layer of marinara sauce for extra flavor.
Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, or oregano right before serving to add a burst of freshness to each bite.
Baking Tips: Cover the casserole with aluminum foil during the first part of baking to prevent excessive browning of the cheese. Uncover for the last 10-15 minutes to achieve that golden, bubbly top.
Portion Control: This recipe is great for leftovers. Store any extra portions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.