Monday, March 14, 2016

I Made it Monday Five Cheese Ziti

I Made it Monday

Join me on my ongoing quest to share tips, tricks, projects, and recipes along with just about anything else on I Made it Monday.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using the link. For my full disclosure statement please click here.

Five Cheese Baked Ziti

My house is very full this week. Our oldest daughter is home from college for spring break and she brought two friends back to Florida with her. Although it has been a mild winter in the greater DC area I don't know many college kids that would pass at the chance of free room and board for spring break in Florida. So, our house is full, our sink is full, our laundry baskets are full, our beds are full, our refrigerator was full, and I am happy.

This week I'm going to share one of my go to recipes for feeding a crowd, Five Cheese Baked Ziti. I found this recipe while looking for a copy cat of the dish served at Olive Garden.

Below I've posted the recipe as it is written. Of course, being who I am, I do things a little different. First of all, I double the recipe. If I'm not expecting to serve it all at once I make smaller dishes to freeze for later. This recipe takes time and a fair amount of ingredients and clean up, so while it is delicious, there are lots of excuses available for me to not want to make it. To alleviate that, I double it, make three dishes of it, serve one the first night and freeze the other two for later. This is a great dish for a busy school night. Just pop it in the oven, serve it, and wash 1 baking dish. Typically I make one 13x9 dish and two 8x8 dishes. The 13x9 for a crowd, the 8x8's for just our family. When preparing it to freeze, be sure to line your dish with aluminium foil so you can remove your dish after it has frozen and not have dishes tied up in the freezer. You could also use disposable aluminium foil pans if you want to make clean up even easier.

A few other tips ... 

  • I don't use Fontina or Romano cheese very often so I vacuum freeze the extra. 
  • I never measure the Fontina, Parmesan or Romano and choose to just estimate.
  • If I don't have fresh parsley I just use the stuff from the spice cabinet.
  • I have been known to use Penne pasta instead of Ziti if that is what I have on hand.
  • I never have fresh garlic. Never. I always use minced garlic from a jar. 
  • When cooking from frozen I just put the aluminium foil "brick" back in the original dish. If I remember, I put it out to thaw that morning and usually bake it for 30 to 40 minutes at dinner time. I have cooked the dish from frozen before (think frozen lasagna from the freezer section at the grocery store) but it takes a lot longer. I start with 50 minutes then start checking. It will definitely need more time but it's a good starting point.
  • When cooking from frozen I like to tent the aluminium foil so the cheese doesn't stick or get too browned. When it's close to finishing time I will open the foil so the top can brown and crisp some.
  • My favorite part is the topping. I save that part for last.

Please note: This is the standard recipe for a 13x9 dish. It is not doubled. To make a 13x9 and two 8x8 dishes for later dates you will need to double the recipe.


4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons fontina cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Combining all ingredients for the Ziti Sauce in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients for the Ziti Topping.

Add the garlic, oil, and parsley and mix until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or large casserole with non-stick spray.

Prepare the pasta according to package directions.

Pour 1/2 cup of prepared ziti sauce into the prepared dish, and spread it evenly over the bottom using a spoon.

When pasta has finished cooking, drain 

Click here to the water and pour the hot pasta into the bowl of remaining sauce. Mix thoroughly; pour into the baking dish.

Spread 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over the pasta and sauce mixture.

Top the mozzarella with the prepared Ziti Topping, spreading evenly.

Place pan on center oven rack and bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately.

These are the ingredients for a double batch. Remember, the recipe above is not doubled. If you want to get the full benefit of having some now and having it ready to go for later you'll need to double the ingredients.

I failed to get a picture after removing it from the oven. It's hard to stay focused with a full house.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest, as well as Facebook, and find my designs at Applique Time. Check back next week to see my next I Made it Monday post. 


No comments:

Post a Comment