Delicious Baked Ziti. Italian dishes are family favorites, so oftentimes I strive to make a ground chicken dish zippier using unconventional methods.
A recipe for Delicious Baked Pasta Casserole I discovered online inspired me to put my own twist on it to suit dietary needs. Since everyone loved it (including the sometimes picky 3-year-old niece), I declare this recipe a winner.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it takes a little less than half an hour to prepare, and then it is baking away for 20-25 minutes. If you use that baking time wisely, all your prep dishes and pans will be clean by the time your Delicious Baked Ziti is done.
Delicious Baked Ziti Zips Up Dinner
- 1 pound ground chicken (minced chicken) - (not ground chicken breast; too dry for this dish)
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 medium carrots - cut into 1/2″ slices
- 2 stalks celery - cut into 1/2″ slices
- 1 medium onion powder - finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 ½ cups milk - 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (plain flour Australia and UK)
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 16 ounces Mozzarella cheese - use 1/2 at a time
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese - to top
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare al dente ziti. Drain pasta water. Return pasta to pot (leave pot off the burner for now).
- In the meantime, cook ground chicken. Season with cumin and salt. Drain fat. Put cooked chicken in a bowl.
- Saute carrots, celery, and onion in a skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes (or until veggies are nearly tender) with either chicken fat drippings or 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once veggies are tender, toss in minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds along with vegetables.
- Whisk milk and flour together until completely combined. Pour into vegetable mixture in pan; stir. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, Herbes de Provence, and pepper. Bring to a boil for about a minute (mixture will show thickness at boiling). Turn the heat off the pan.
- Pour vegetable mixture, cooked ground chicken, and 8 ounces of mozzarella into a pot with pasta. Stir.
- In a separate bowl, combine ricotta cheese with Italian seasoning.
- Spoon 1/2 of the pasta mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese mixture. Put the remaining pasta mixture on top of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 8 ounces of mozzarella and the fresh parmesan.
- Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake (covered) for 20-25 minutes until it is hot and bubbly, with melted cheese adorning it.